Habayit Hayehudi and the New Right parties on Tuesday launched a campaign against Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut (Identity) party, after discovering that they are losing at least two mandates that would have come to them from Religious Zionist voters, as these voters are now seriously considering voting Zehut, Kan, Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, reported Wednesday.
This is an unusual cooperation between the two rivals, who are fighting over the same votes, and attests to how desperate they are. On Tuesday, Srugim reported that New Right was behind hundreds of thousands of anonymous SMS messages featuring a link to a video showing Zehut candidate Idan Mor, a.k.a. Gadi Wilcherski (no. 18 on the party’s Knesset slate), explaining to parents why they should not circumcise their newborn son.
Zehut ran an open primary where both candidates and voters used a virtual, online voting booth, and the cost of this complete, borderline insane transparency was the chance that some nut could recruit his or her friends to vote them in despite the distance between the party’s general agenda and their own. The chairman, Feiglin, was able, according to the party rules, to reverse some of that by installing his own reserved candidates in key spots on the slate.
In response to the alleged New Right SMS campaign, Feiglin said that those who are distributing the video are suffering from a “panic attack,” realizing Zehut’s emerging power.
“Over the last few hours, unknown elements have been distributing hundreds of thousands of text messages, in order to discredit Zehut,” Feiglin said Tuesday evening. “We all understand that the message senders are in a panic attack because of the growing support for Zehut and so they’re shooting in all directions.”
“We have an excellent slate of which we are very proud,” Feiglin said.
Zehut’s recent rise in the polls is, indeed, a source of anxiety for its right-wing competitors, uniting them in taking desperate measures against one of their own (Moshe Feiglin is a former Likud MK who lives in the settlement of Karney Shomron and believes in complete Israeli sovereignty over the liberated territories).
We should mention, in this context, that in December 1984 it was the so-called friends of MK Meir Kahane from the right-wing parties who joined left-winger Yossi Sarid to expel Kahane from the Knesset.
Meanwhile, a massive survey by the Miskar Institute, with 4,500 respondents (nearly 10 times the size of a regular survey in Israel), revealed surprising results Tuesday, according to which Zehut not only crossed the 3.25% threshold, it took 7 seats (see: New Survey’s Dream Predictions Sure to Cheer Up Anxious Right-Wingers).
On Wednesday morning, Kan published a more typical survey, conducted by Kantar, according to which Zehut passes the electoral threshold and receives four seats.
The same survey also found that 30% of the public believe that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to indict PM Netanyahu, subject to a hearing, reduces the chance that they would vote Likud. 58% said the attorney general’s decision would not affect their vote – which, of course, is not the same as saying they plan to vote Likud.