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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Manhigut Yehudit’

Investor’s Guide to the Political Market

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The 2013 elections were supposed to have been boring. “The final result is already clear and there is nothing new under the sun,” the pundits promised. However, with just about three weeks until the polls open, we are in the throes of one of the most fascinating election campaigns that Israel has known: It is a campaign that faithfully reflects the deep currents of change in Israeli society. Nobody can yet predict its final outcome.

Let us try to analyze what is taking place, from Left to Right. First, though, we must understand the factors that influence the power of any political party:

The political world is very similar to the financial world. The “stock exchange” of the political world is elections. The value of the stocks – the political parties – is actually determined by a number of parameters. There is the stock’s current value: how many people voted for the party in the previous elections. There is also its real market value and the value at which it is traded at the given moment.
For example, as these words are being written, the current value of Kadimah is 27 mandates. But the real market value of the party (which has established mechanisms and registered members) is much lower. At the current moment, Kadimah is being traded even below its low value and will apparently disappear off the charts.

When we try to understand what is happening now in Israel’s political arena, we must first assess the true value of the different parties. In this way, we will be able to differentiate between deep processes and processes that have no long-term significance.
The true value of a party is determined by the following 6 factors:

1. Message. When all is said and done, political parties are supposed to herald some sort of message. That is why they are established.
2. A consistent nucleus of voters that identifies with the party. (In the financial world, this is called trademark)
3. Identification of voters at large (the market) with the party’s message.
4. Identification of voters at large with the party’s actions or accomplishments.
5. The party structure. In other words, an independent party that has established respectable party institutions, an internal voting mechanism and member participation in decision making and choice of representatives.
6. The party leaders.

When Kadimah was established and leapt to a decisive victory, I claimed that it would disappear off the political map within a few election campaigns. The reason for this evaluation was the understanding that Kadimah’s “stock” was overvalued. The party did enjoy an extraordinarily strong Factor #6 – its powerful and charismatic leader, Ariel Sharon. However, it lacked all the other components and it was clear that it was living on borrowed time.

At the same time, when many were already eulogizing the Likud, I already publicly went on record with the assessment that the Likud would return to the helm of government. The reason for this evaluation was that the Likud, on one level or another, enjoys all the other components above. So if it won only 12 mandates due to a political “accident”, its market value did not reflect the true value of the stock, but rather, its current value at that given time.

With these 6 components in mind, we can now analyze the current political picture:

On the Left end of the political spectrum in Israel are Meretz and the Arab parties: Hadash, Ra’am, Ta’al and Bal’ad. No real change can be expected for any of these parties. They have all six components and we can expect them to more or less maintain their strength.

On the Right end of the political spectrum, things are a bit more complex. Otzmah L’Yisrael (Eldad and Ben Ari), the rightist parallel of Meretz, certainly has a clear message, public identification with its message that should get it past the 2% threshold and well-known leaders. But it is a new party with no clear party structure.

The same is true for Am Shalem, Rabbi Amsalem’s party. It has a message and leadership, but it is not clear if it has the critical mass of the other components to create a real party and get it over the threshold.

The Ashkenazi Haredi parties, just like the Arab parties, enjoy all six components and will likely maintain their current strength.

The picture is less clear for Shas. For many years, Shas was overvalued, due to the major dominance of its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. The Rabbi’s dominance is naturally diminishing, but the party does enjoy all the other components. It will not disappear, but in the future, Shas will contract to its real market value. I assess that at approximately 8 mandates.

It is important to remember that while the Arabs will not enter a rightist coalition, the Haredim are certainly willing to enter a leftist coalition and have done so in the past.

Let us now analyze what is taking place in the relevant Left. ( As opposed to Meretz, the ideological Left that is not confused by the facts.)

The shattering of the Oslo vision has left the Israeli Left with no relevant message. When there is no message, things get out of control and the first to be affected are political parties. Their politics become personal and not ideological, tension within and between the parties grows and break-offs and new, strange bedfellows flourish. In the past we have seen the same phenomenon in the Right, also as a result of lack of relevant vision. There have always been hatred and jealousy in the Left and in the Right. But when the passengers believe that the driver knows where he is going, they fight for a good spot behind him – and not for the driver’s seat.

The Labor Party

The Labor party has always enjoyed all six of the components above. In addition, it is a party with history and a leadership mentality that knows how to address the entire public. For this reason, Labor will always be a leadership option. I estimate that Labor’s current market value is between 25 and 30 mandates. The party that under Ehud Barak’s leadership deteriorated to an all-time low, lept back to its real value as soon as it rid itself of its problematic leader and put a young and charismatic new leader at the helm. Sheli Yechimovitz understood that she must propose a new vision to replace the shattered Oslo, and had the wisdom to focus on social and economic issues. However, the founding ethos in Israel was and remains the security ethos. In Israel, “It’s the security, stupid.” As long as Labor will not be able to establish a political/security alternative, it will not surpass the Likud. In addition to this basic fact, competition from Lapid and Livni on the one hand and problematic primaries that put anarchistic candidates at the top of the list, on the other – have eroded Labor’s value. Today, the party’s market value is lower than its real value (17 mandates, as per the latest polls).

Lapid’s Party (I Can’t Remember its Name)

Clearly, Lapid’s current market value (11 mandates) has nothing to do with its real value. The party lacks all of the components except #6 – a young and widely recognized leader (thanks to his media career). The reason that I don’t remember the name of the party is that it really isn’t a party: It is a person. Lapid’s party is a shopping cart picking up dissatisfaction and hopelessness without proposing any real alternative. Just like Kadimah and Lapid Senior, this party will disappear off the map in a short time.

Livni’s Party (I Can’t Remember its Name)

Clearly, Livni’s current market value (11 mandates) has nothing to do with its real value. The party lacks all of the components except #6 – a widely recognized leader. The reason that I don’t remember the name of the party is that it really isn’t a party: It is a person. Livni’s party is a shopping cart picking up dissatisfaction and hopelessness without proposing any real alternative. Just like Kadimah, this party will disappear off the map in a short time.

Likud

Except for a clear message, the Likud enjoys all the other components that make up a real party. Like Labor, the Likud is also a ruling party. But unlike Labor, the Likud boasts a large membership that plainly reflects Israeli society as a whole – as do its voters. The method for internal elections in the Likud is far from perfect. The political mechanism is problematic. Nonetheless, the party manages to faithfully express the main will of its voters and to ensure (with safe slots on the party list) a high-quality roster that authentically represents the multi-faceted Israeli society.

The Likud evades its own message, preferring to be “not Left.” This is an effective method when there is no alternative to the Right. But it becomes problematic as soon as such an alternative appears. In my estimate, the true value of the Likud is approximately 40 mandates – even more. But for a long time, it has been traded well below its market value. This is due to the Russian vote that has migrated to Lieberman’s party, the Sephardi vote that migrated to Shas and Likud’s inability to establish a political/security alternative to the Left’s platform. In the current elections, the Religious Zionists are also retreating into sectoral politics, thanks to Naftali Bennett. The Likud’s ridiculous fight against Bennett has accelerated the under-market-value phenomenon.

The Likud’s attack on Bennett’s declaration in favor of a sort of insubordination established it in the eyes of the Religious Zionists as a party that could once again initiate large scale expulsions. When Bennett reneged, the Religious Zionists understood that once again, their party would be a tool in the hands of possible future evictions. But the Likud’s attack saved Bennett from the results of his zigzag and featured him in the right place nonetheless: His proponents heard him say that he would fulfill expulsion orders, but they don’t believe him.

Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu)

When people thought that Lieberman would be prime minister someday, we explained that Yisrael Beiteinu would disappear from the political map. The reason is that, like Kadimah, Liberman’s party is also about a person and not about a party. Lieberman is a talented and very charismatic leader who created a party with a steady and loyal voter base. The real market value of Yisrael Beiteinu (as long as Lieberman is able to head it) is 8 mandates. In the previous elections, the Likud lost approximately 10 mandates as a result of Netanyahu’s battle against yours truly. Most of those mandates migrated to Lieberman and raised the party’s market value way above where it should really be. As the State’s Attorney has managed to sideline Lieberman, his party will shrivel up and its voters will disperse (temporarily) to a number of parties – primarily to the Jewish Home party.

The Jewish Home (The New NRP) – Naftali Bennett

This is undoubtedly the most fascinating story of the election campaign. For about twenty years, the NRP stock has been traded way below its true value, which I estimate to be about 8 to 10 mandates.

The reasons for the political downfall of Religious Zionism are a combination of irrelevant ideology and aging leadership that did not have the wisdom to involve the public in choosing the party’s ideological path and its leadership. Of the six party-building components, the first (message), fifth (mechanism) and sixth (leadership) were extremely problematic.

The general public that in the 70s expected the “new generation of crocheted kippot” to take responsibility and lead – despaired of the Religious Zionists and turned to other alternatives. Over the years, those who had represented Israeli hope turned into a type of “nudnik.” The NRP, which had won 12 mandates in 1977, was hounded by infighting, split time and again and practically disappeared.
Religious Zionism is a unique sector that feels all-inclusive responsibility for the Nation of Israel. It contributes to society, volunteers and serves more than any other sector in the country. But it is this very sector that has found itself harassed, expelled from its status and sometimes even from its own homes.

The Haredi parties do not participate in the Zionist endeavor and the Religious Zionists tended to scorn them. But they have many more mandates than the NRP. The Religious Zionists, more numerous and higher quality, looked on for an entire generation as Israeli society turned its back on them, stopped taking their needs and opinions into account, ignored their great contribution to the state and cozied up to the sectoral politics of its Haredi competitors.

The NRP’s message is not sectoral; it appeals to the general public. But its political tool is sectoral. The Religious Zionist nationalist/rightist ideology prevents it from skipping between Right and Left, as the Haredi parties do. This built-in political glitch leaves them empty-handed on both ends. They don’t really enjoy the privilege of turning to the general public, for this privilege is reserved for those parties that truly are not sectoral. On the other hand, they don’t enjoy the bargaining advantage of sectoral politics. After all, the Jewish Home party will never endorse Sheli Yechimovitz as its candidate for prime minister.

If the Likud continues to lose height in the polls until its continued rule is in danger, the Jewish Home voters will rush to vote Likud because the Jewish Home really does not supply the merchandise. It does not offer a ruling alternative or sectoral advantage. All it really supplies is a psychological sense of ease.

So what caused the Religious Zionist stock to almost double its value? After all, it did not solve its basic problem, the dissonance between its all-inclusive ideology and its sectoral political tool. In these elections, the Jewish Home party provides the opportunity to restore the lost honor of an entire generation. Once again, “we” matter. A long list of very worthy representative of the Religious Zionist community will enter the Knesset, making the Jewish Home party the third largest in the parliament. Once again, the Religious Zionists feel, they are taking their rightful place in Israeli society.

The successful registration drive and primaries restored a well-run party mechanism (fifth component) to the Jewish Home. It reconnected the party to its natural membership base and its ideological supporters (components 2, 3 and 4) and installed a new and charismatic leader at its head (component 6). Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett does not project himself as sectoral. This has opened the party to people who, until now, did not have the tools to connect to it.

The Jewish Home is now being traded for 13 mandates and counting. It can certainly get more in the elections. But in the future, it will shrink back to its real value. This is because its charismatic leader does not really herald a new message and does not really solve the dissonance described above.

It is no accident that the contentious subject of conscientious objection was laid at Bennett’s doorstep from the very start. This issue digs deep into one of the most basic dilemmas in the National Religious ideology: the relationship between faith and state. The conscientious objection issue is the civil language that frames the faith-based question that asks who is King. G-d? Or the State? Bennett’s zigzag and the fact that his entire roster stood behind him when he gave his second answer placed the amazing achievement of the reunification of the Religious Zionism on a very shaky ideological foundation. It also negated its ability to herald the message that it pretends to carry. Voters for the Jewish Home can be absolutely sure that their party will not expel Jews from their homes – on Shabbat!

Before the elections, the Jewish Home candidates have managed to remain silent and to close ranks in the face of theoretical challenges. They all stand firmly behind their ascending leader who avoids ideological statements. But when faced with reality’s challenges, the arguments and divisions will begin, highlighting the fact that the party is sectoral and driving away voters who are not from the sector. The Jewish Home party will return to its natural size.

What is Going to Happen in the Next Elections?

With great “talent” and partly due to its assault on Bennett and its decisive stand against conscientious objection, the Likud has distanced the Religious Zionist public which had been joining the party over the last number of years.

The votes that should have been coming in from Yisrael Beiteinu will disperse in every direction when their leader is forced to step down. The person most likely to benefit from this is – once again – Naftali Bennett. But he is not the only one. Some of those mandates will remain in the Likud, nevertheless. Some will migrate to Lapid, the Russian party or even to Otzma L’Yisrael.

It is reasonable to assume that despite all the setbacks, the Likud will form the next government. This is not a sure thing, though. It is enough for some other factor (like criminal charges against a senior minister) to enter the picture in the remaining weeks to redirect more mandates away from the Likud. If the Likud goes under the 30 mark and Yechimovitz rises above 20, Deri (who certainly prefers Yechimovitz) will abstain from endorsing Netanyahu for PM. In that scenario, Deri’s move would enable the president to appoint Yechimovitz to form a government, and she could certainly succeed. (A “social” platform with Shas).

One way or another, the Jewish Home will win 15 mandates – possibly more. If Netanyahu will add Bennett to his government, Bennett will be forced to go a very long distance with him in the face of negotiations and political surrenders. For after all, Netanyahu could always exchange him for Sheli, Livni, Lapid – or all of them together. The Jewish Home will never have any option at all except for the Likud. It is also very likely that Bennett will never make it into the coalition at all.

There is no choice for those loyal to the Land of Israel but to remember that the game is not between Likud or Labor or Likud or NRP. The real name of the game is leadership of the national ruling party; leadership of the State of Israel.

The generation of Yamit did not understand this crucial point and did not draw the obvious conclusion that a faith-based alternative must be established. Instead, it rolled the ball to the next generation: the generation of the expulsion from Gush Katif. It seems that the Disengagement generation also did not understand and despite the great progress that Manhigut Yehudit has made in the Likud, Religious Zionists are now returning to sectoral politics. If this trend continues, our children will also find themselves negotiating between a leftist government that wants to expel them and a rightist government that expels without asking.

The solution is not to jump off the train. The solution is to progress slowly but surely to the steering wheel. Those who understand this do not leave the Likud and consider the true market value of the various parties and not the current political fads. We should not make light of the parties being traded under their value, but we must also not become overenthusiastic when a party leaps way above its true value.

From this perspective, the Likud was and remains the party with which to build faith-based leadership for the State of Israel. It is the only party that gives political hope for a true solution. We must remain loyal to the political earth under our feet – even when it is trembling. Those who choose to vote now for the Jewish Home party are basically removing themselves from the relevant arena.

The Likud is not a rose garden. It has expelled Jews in the past and is still capable of doing so. But we cannot ignore the fact that within the parameters of its tactical abilities (when there is no political plan on the table) the Likud does more for settlement than any other party.

In a 12 year struggle, we have led the Religious Zionists deep into the ruling party. The Likud, in turn, gladly opened its gates wide. There are more settlers at the top of the Likud list today than on any other list. We must not stop this important process – the only process that is the right solution for the real problem: The process that will create authentic Jewish leadership for Israel.

Medicinal Cannabis and Dr. Johnny

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Toward the end of his life, my father suffered indescribable pain. He was at the stage where the doctors in the oncology ward focus on other patients, and you run – helpless and harried – between doctors who don’t know how to work outside the book. “Your father is finished, we’ve done all that we can,” they would say, adding, “Johnny. Talk to Johnny.”

The government recently closed Dr. Johnny Greenfield’s pain clinic in the Tel Hashomer hospital. It was only from the media reports that I realized that Johnny is a highly respected oncologist. There, in the hospital, he would sit behind a tiny table in a tiny cubicle, helping his pain-wracked patients. In that tiny room, he was simply Johnny.

Johnny would talk to my father. He would calm him. He would explain that it is legitimate to want the pain to stop. My eyes fill with tears when I remember those searing moments. Johnny is one of those people who are really card-carrying angels.

And Johnny helped – a lot. More than the medicinal cannabis that he prescribed for my father, he helped with his love for others and his completely unorthodox approach. No “Do these tests and come back with the results,” and the authorizations and all the running around that turns people suffering their most difficult moments into miserable mice running down unfamiliar halls, pushing and pressured between all the other equally miserable people. Anyone who has experienced this can understand what I am talking about.

Johnny wants the pain to stop. He is a professional and explains the exact implications of each drug, telling my father what part of his cognizance may be impaired and the consequences of every drug he offered. He is a true healer. For the first time in a long time, my father relaxed. The cruel world suddenly looked different. A world with a person like Johnny looks beautiful, nurturing and warm.

After a few meetings, I told Johnny that I had read that Israel is one of the leading countries in its use of medicinal cannabis. Johnny didn’t have to hear more than that to pour his heart out. He spoke of all the patients who could not get treatment, and about how good cannabis and cannabis products would be for a vast array of illnesses. Perhaps the economic interest of the drug companies has something to do with the obstacles that the state places in the path of those who wish to be treated by this amazing drug. “I believe that if God created it, he did it so that we can use it,” I say to him.

Since my father died, I have not heard from Johnny. Suddenly this man, considered an angel by so many, is publicly denounced.

Have a good, sweet year, Johnny. It makes no difference what they write. In your merit, there are so many people that can smile a little bit at the end of their lives.

The Pita That Revived Terror

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

“And all the nations will see that the Name of God is called upon you, and they will fear you” (Deuteronomy 28:10).

During the First Lebanon War, the IDF forced the PLO terrorists all the way to the Beirut port and then to Tunisia. The PLO, which had lost its stronghold in Lebanon, was shattered. Salach Taamri, the most senior and admired terrorist captured by the IDF, was imprisoned in the Ansar detention camp. He was a broken man.

Later, Taamri was interviewed by journalist Aharon Barnea for the book he would write about him, To be Captive. In Barnea’s book, Taamri describes the situation of the terror organization prior to Pesach, 28 years ago. “I concluded,” said Taamri, “that we had no chance to overpower Israel’s financial and military prowess, and that we should make do with the crumbs that they would throw us and fold up all our flags.”

Taamri, an intellectual and patriot, willingly cooperated with his captors. The other prisoners understood from their admired commander that the end had come and that the war was lost. And then, Taamri continued, a surprising event took place that turned everything upside down.

“My hands were holding the cold bars and I was looking from inside my dark jail cell toward the hall where an Israeli guard was walking. I saw him from far. He was walking slowly, holding something in his hand that he would constantly bring close to his mouth. He would bring it close and then distance it. When he was close to my cell, I called to him. I saw that he was eating a pita. He would bite, chew, bite and chew.

“You are a Jew,” I said to him. “Why are you eating chametz on Pesach? Don’t you know that it is forbidden for a Jew to eat chametz on this holiday?”

“I am not committed to the things that happened to my people during the exodus from Egypt 2,000 years ago. I have no connection to it,” said the Jewish prison guard.

Taamri continued: “I sat on the mattress in my cell and said to myself, ‘A nation of people who do not have a connection with their past; who are willing to publicly desecrate the laws of their faith, is a nation that has cut off the roots from its land. We will be able to achieve our goals.’ On that night, my approach completely changed. I couldn’t fall asleep. In all those hours of darkness, I replayed that scene with the Jewish prison guard.

“The next morning I gathered the Palestinian leadership in the prison, all those who knew my opinion over the years. I told them about my experience and the conclusions that I reached. I clarified to everyone that from that morning, we were embarking on a new course: a war for everything. Not for a small percentage and not for crumbs that they would throw us. For opposing us was a nation that lacked the connection to its roots, a nation not interested in its past. Thus, its motivation was necessarily void of any will to struggle and fight.”

Since then, Taamri says that he has told his story to tens of thousands of people and has convinced all of them that the approach must be changed to this: the Palestinians must struggle without compromise.

Taamri was elected to the Palestinian parliament and indeed convinced his friends, breathing new spirit into the war against Israel. The damage done by that pita eaten by the Israeli soldier on Pesach cannot be exaggerated.

The question mark hovering over the right of the Jewish state to exist – and as a result, over its right to defend itself in the face of existential threat – is directly connected to our identity as God’s nation.

When the nations of the world see that God’s Name is called upon us, when we know who we are, understand what we represent and are at peace with our destiny, the power of deterrence that the terrorist Taamri initially felt will be established. But when we are not interested in God’s Name being called upon us, the nations can openly plan to destroy us – with nuclear weapons or in any other way. And they will do so without fear.

Can We Stop The Peace Train?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

It is difficult for some to accept the connections being made between Manhigut Yehudit and those who, when push came to shove, voted in favor of the Expulsion from Gush Katif. Both MK Miri Regev, who works tirelessly on behalf of every nationalist issue – be it the Ulpana Hill or the African infiltrators – and Minister Silvan Shalom, who has been a very positive force for the settlements and other national interests, were not in the right place at the critical hour. Many find our renewed friendship hard to swallow.

Since the governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres put the “peace train” on the Oslo tracks, the sand in the settlement hourglass has been running out. The recognition of the “Palestinian nation and its rights” means the loss of recognition of the Jewish state and its rights. It’s as simple as that.

The Israeli Right did not have the tools to counter the alternative promoted by the Left because it never really had an alternative. All that the Right had was healthier national feelings. But feelings don’t stop trains – and they certainly cannot place them on a different track to a different destination. Inside the train, the Likud MKs will do all they can to help, but they are incapable of changing its direction.

When it gets to the point that continued support of the settlements will be deemed political suicide, the Likud MKs will need an alternative support that will provide them with a different ideology and leadership. That is the only way that they will be able to continue to fight. As long as that support does not exist, nobody can expect them to do more than they are doing now.

Have we at Manhigut Yehudit created that alternative support? There is no doubt that we have been creating an alternative for the past 15 years. We are now in the critical stage of establishing grass-roots connections. Without those direct connections between the various Likud activists, our alternative will remain ungrounded. But there is no connection between the factions without connections and the faction leaders. And the faction leaders, sadly, have failed in the past.

Those who want to make life easy will once again repeat the erroneous Effie Eitam paradigm. Once again they will register for their own small party that will split up yet again and run in the next election under a different name. As the old saying goes: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me! Religious Zionist politics is once again leading its voters down the same, fallacious path. The same mistakes have been made over and over again, in innovative variations, beginning from the days of the Techiya Party. Whoever is duped again has only himself to blame.

Now back to the settlements. The Oslo train cannot be turned around without true leadership and an alternative track. There will be no new settlements in Judea and Samaria, no return to the glorious pioneering days, no new Ma’ale Adumim or Ariel, and no new neighborhoods inside those towns until the change is made. But the destruction can be stopped. The strategic change that is necessary entails establishing new, faith-based leadership that is not dependent on the established powers that be.

The Left is working wisely. It is progressing incrementally, fully synchronized with its people in the state’s attorney’s office and the High Court. They know that too great an achievement all at once could torpedo all their gains. But after the destruction of these small settlements, we will once again be hearing from Peace Now in Ofra, Shilo and the rest of the towns in the Binyamin region.

We must continue the struggle. If the decision makers believe that the threat of a real struggle is not hanging over their heads, their fear of the Left will naturally be greater than their fear of the settlers.

Beware: Feiglinism Poised To Bring Peace

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This is how it works: A minister or MK who steps out of line – opposing the destruction of the Ulpana neighborhood, for example – is immediately accused of “Feiglinism.” It makes no difference if the accuser is Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak. “This is simply terrible,” Kadima MK Nachman Shai explained on the afternoon news. “Feiglin determines the fate of the Likud MKs.”

Feiglin has become a code word for illegitimacy. When someone is accused of Feiglinism, the accuser no longer has to logically argue his point. “Beware,” said Defense Minister Barak to Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, “if you continue to promote this view, you will be field-marshaled by the Politically Correct Patrol.”

Is the balloon that the media inflate around Manhigut Yehudit real? Do we really determine political fate? What is the real influence of Manhigut Yehudit and of other ideological factions in the Likud?

There is no doubt that all of these factions exert influence. But that influence is far less than what the media attribute to them. True, there will be borderline candidates whose fates will be determined by our votes. But essentially, we are no different than any other voter or voting group in the Likud.

Countless groups, large and small, organize and coordinate their votes. This is the situation in almost every Likud branch. Approximately half of the Likud voters are part of an organized group. According to the numbers, Manhigut Yehudit is certainly an important influence within the Likud, but not as great as portrayed by the media. A diligent and capable MK will be able to get himself elected with or without Manhigut Yehudit.

But, unlike essence, numbers are not the whole picture. Livni, Barak and all the other Feiglinism alarmists are painfully aware that there is a real alternative growing in the Likud. The Likud is in power today because it is an authentic popular party with higher quality leaders. No other party has a leader who even nears the talent and experience of Benjamin Netanyahu.

On issues of essence, though, there is no real difference between the various major parties, not in foreign affairs and practically not in economics. With a bit of political savvy (social unrest plus a few media spins) the political opposition may actually manage to unseat the Likud and make Shaul Mofaz the new prime minister.

The person who is an essential threat to the Shimon Peres agenda that has been forced upon Israeli society since Oslo is none other than me. It is much more difficult to spin essence away. That is why they keep yelling about the contagious Feiglinism.

“What is your peace plan?” I was asked this week at a Likud meeting in rocket-weary Ashkelon.

“It is very simple,” I answered. “The Arabs will hear that Feiglin is prime minister, and there will be peace.”

That is not bragging; it is simply the truth. Today, we do not have peace because the Arabs have nobody with whom to make peace. The Arabs have caught on to our “just passing through” mentality, reflected by Israel’s leaders from all the parties. To make peace, you need a partner. Only the landowner can be a peace partner – and only if he is convinced and convincing that he has no intention of giving up his land. But if we are only passing through here, there is nobody with whom to make peace. If there is a problem with a guest, everybody just tries to hasten his departure.

Those who are truly committed to peace should do all they can to ensure that Feiglinism spreads far and wide.

Why I Am Running For Head Of Likud

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

There we, Manhigut Yehudit’s strategy team, sat for our first strategy meeting ahead of the upcoming primaries. “According to Likud law, primaries for the party chairmanship will be held in about a year,” I said, “and we have to prepare now.” We spent hours discussing different ideas and assigning tasks and projects. As people began heading for the door, somebody read aloud a headline that had just come through over the Internet: “Netanyahu Calls for Primaries on Jan. 31.” “Very funny,” someone said, laughing. But it wasn’t a joke. Our entire meeting had just been rendered irrelevant. We had only seven weeks (from when the strategy meeting took place) until the primaries. My phone began to ring, with reporters asking for my reaction to Netanyahu’s bombshell. “I will run for the head of the Likud no matter when primaries will be held,” I declared.

Why run? And why run on such short notice, when Netanyahu obviously has a clear advantage?

The greatest threat hanging over Israel’s head – greater than a nuclear Iran – is the loss of our legitimacy to exist as a Jewish state. From our long and difficult history we know that the delegitimization of our right to exist ultimately leads to annihilation.

We have rightfully “earned” the existential question mark hovering over our heads, after years of evasion and the blurring of Israel’s Jewish identity. Faith-based Jewish leadership that will rally Israeli society around its Jewish identity is nothing less than an existential imperative.

“But you don’t have a chance,” people say to me. My answer to that is that no revolutionary vision has a chance at the start. But when pursued with determination, the vision always turns out to prove itself well connected to reality. This means that as long as I do not give up, I am always winning. The Wright Brothers’ first successful flight turned all the crashes that preceded it into part of the success story. The principle was right and with their perseverance, they ultimately succeeded.

In the previous primaries, I received 25 percent of the votes. In the primaries before those, I gained more votes than all the other candidates (including senior government ministers at the time). That would not have happened if I had not dared to run the first time, when I received only 3 percent of the vote.

Ultimately, the most realistic thing in the world is the fulfillment of God’s will. The Creator has not guarded the Nation of Israel for the past 3,000 years, restoring us to our land after 2,000 years of exile, just to establish another Western, democratic, liberal province on the very piece of land that the “oppressed” Palestinians claim as their own.

Israel has a national destiny and a universal message to bring to the world from Zion. That is the reality. To continue to exist and flourish, the State of Israel needs Jewish leadership. It needs leadership that understands the nation’s destiny and strives to fulfill it. The question is not whether we will win the primaries for the Likud leadership. The question is when we will win and lead our nation. We will win, because we are the only candidates in the national leadership arena that are connected to reality.

The Return Of The Feiglinites

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

“The fight for democracy is taking place today within the Likud: between Ruby Rivlin, Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor on one side, and Yariv Levin, Zeev Elkin, Danny Danon and all those who are – conditionally, of course – on [Moshe] Feiglin’s endorsed list on the other.”

In a long and reasoned article published recently on Israel’s most popular news site, Ynet, Labor Party activist Dr. Itai Asher explains how the Likud has become the arena for the battle over the future of the State of Israel: a battle between “democracy” and the “Feiglinites.”

In principle, Dr. Asher is right. Manhigut Yehudit helped shape the Likud’s Knesset roster, aligning it more with the national camp’s ideology. But a quick look at the list of names that Dr. Asher cites shows that the “battle for democracy” (in his words) is not being fought between different endorsed groups alone. Its roots go much deeper.

Ruby Rivlin, for example, was on the Manhigut Yehudit-endorsed candidates list. If so, how is it that Rivlin opposes the new law proposals requiring a Knesset hearing for candidates for the Supreme Court and imposing stiff fines for libel? On the other hand, Elkin, who got into the Knesset as a Netanyahu candidate, is working hard to get the proposals passed. How can it be that Elkin has positioned himself in the “dark Feiglinite dictatorship” – in the words of opposition leader Tzipi Livni?

Rivlin, Eitan and Meridor are all part of the veteran generation of the Likud. Their actions are dictated by the old Likud mentality. Levin, Elkin and Danon belong to the new generation in the Likud. They represent the mentality of the future that is developing within the national ruling party.

More than Manhigut Yehudit influences the makeup of the party roster. It influences the vision of the Likud and the perspective of its members. My repeated candidacies for leadership of the Likud planted the option for different values in the nationalist ruling party. No more existence for its own sake that sees the “peace process” as its ultimate dream, preventing the Likud from following any path other than Oslo. Instead, Manhigut Yehudit has infused the Likud with a sense of destiny for which it is sometimes worthwhile to sacrifice one’s individual existence. It is a destiny that frees the national camp from its psychological dependence on the Left.

My candidacy for leadership of the Likud opened the gates for a steady stream of faith-based voters, who voted for the MKs who are working hard today to liberate the Jewish majority from the grip of the Left’s two main ruling tools: the courts and the media. It is no coincidence that the latest legislative proposals focus on these two tenets. The courts and the media are the long arms of the Left. They sustain Israel’s dubious “democracy.”

The generation of Rivlin, Eitan and Meridor did not come of age with Manhigut Yehudit in the Likud. They have made peace with the leftist hegemony. We have all gotten used to the fact that when you vote Left you get Left, and when you vote Right, you get double Left. The veteran politicians cannot internalize the thought that the Likud can develop its own sense of legitimacy, adopt a path that deviates from what the Left dictates, and simply insist on ruling. Ironically, they see the new internal liberty as straying from Jabotinsky’s principles.

Levin, Elkin and Danon, on the other hand, draw the courage to face off against the Supreme Court and the media from the new sense of destiny and from the masses of faith-based voters who have joined the Likud. True, the Likud and the new MKs have not yet connected to the faith-based vision. That will still take some time. But the new sense of destiny has already created a new reality. It exudes self-confidence, creates independence, and straightens the back of the national camp. And it is bearing fruit.

From our vantage point within this process, it is sometimes hard to appreciate what has happened. It is not always easy to identify the process that begins with the faith-based vision and candidacy for leadership of the Likud to mass faith-based membership in the Likud and then on to the recent legislative proposals.

To understand what is taking place here, we must look to the Left. They are not talking about a Lieberman or Marzelite dictatorship, but rather a “Feiglinite tyranny.” They easily discovered the precise source of the process that threatens to liberate the Jewish majority from their generations-long grip. They understand where it came from and where it is going much better than all the rightists. They have identified the source – and that is where they are taking aim.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-return-of-the-feiglinites/2011/12/14/

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