Moshe Feiglin surprised everyone on Thursday morning after announcing that he is dropping out of the current race to be the head of the Likud party and the Prime Minister of Israel.
Feiglin has made it no secret that the Prime Minister’s chair and the head of the Likud party is his endgame.
Feiglin will continue to run in the Likud’s race for the Knesset list on December 31, where he is expected to do well.
The decision came after the Likud’s internal court decided that Likud members would vote for the party head and the Likud Knesset list simultaneously, which would have meant that Feiglin would have to be competing in two races at the same time.
Netanyahu wanted both votes held on the same day, which he believes gives him the better advantage. Netanyahu was concerned that votes on different days would have resulted in a lower turnout which would not be in his favor.
While he obviously hasn’t won, support for Feiglin in for the leadership position has been constantly increasing.
This is not the first time Netanyahu has moved the goalposts specifically to deter or hurt Feiglin.
In previous Likud elections for the Knesset list, Feiglin repeatedly had the carpet pulled out from under him after winning high positions on the list, when Netanyahu, using one technicality or another – sometimes after the votes were counted, had Feiglin’s position lowered down.
Feiglin decided that he will not be appealing the Likud court’s decision.
Feiglin sent a message to reporters that he doesn’t want to drag the Likud into legal battles right before elections, as the Likud must remain united so that it will continue to be the ruling party. Feiglin added that he will run in future primaries for the top slot.
There are reports that the acrimony that Netanyahu had towards Feiglin has dropped, and in fact, after seeing Feiglin’s work in the Knesset, Netanyahu now respects Feiglin’s work and contributions to the Likud and the coalition — but that doesn’t mean he wants to compete against the man in the Likud’s primaries.