Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just can't keep a Jew down

Apparently, Bibi can’t find a way to block Moshe Feiglin from obtaining a respectable place on the Likud list for a seat in the Knesset - providing Likud wins the next election. The Jerusalem Post:
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu wishes he could prevent far-right activist Moshe Feiglin from winning a realistic seat on the party's Knesset candidates list, but he has not found a way to do so, sources close to Netanyahu said Tuesday. In the past two national elections, legal reasons were found to block Feiglin from running. But a former Likud official who was involved in successful efforts to stymie Feiglin in the past said Netanyahu would have to get used to seeing Feiglin in the Knesset. "We realize that Feiglin would only damage us, but there doesn't seem to be anything to do," a source close to Netanyahu said.

Kadima strategists have already started using the examples of Feiglin and former science minister Bennie Begin to paint the Likud as an extreme right-wing party. Strategist Lior Chorev made a point of repeatedly referring to the Likud as the "Begin-Feiglin party" last week.

Feiglin was convicted of sedition for blocking streets during heated demonstrations against the Oslo Accords in the mid-1990s, when he headed the Zo Artzenu protest movement. He later formed the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) movement inside Likud and has been gradually rising in power as he signed up more and more members to the party. After losing to Netanyahu by a landslide in the last Likud leadership race, Feiglin began to refer to himself as "the No. 2 man in Likud."

The party's law committee will meet on Wednesday to decide on procedures and a mid-December date for selecting the party's Knesset list. The decisions will then need the approval on Sunday of the Likud central committee in which Feiglin is powerful. Feiglin said Netanyahu's decision to take away the 3,000-member central committee's power to select the Likud's Knesset list and give it to the party's 100,000 members increased his chances of getting elected. He said that his movement had registered some 10 percent of the members. "The change was a big help because now we don't have to make as many political deals," Feiglin said. "We will be judged by our inner truth. The Likud is the most democratic and real party in the Knesset, so the real Likudniks will win, and that's us."

Feiglin's supporters helped pass extended membership requirements for the party, which prevented Netanyahu or others from signing up thousands of people in a fast membership drive as was done in Labor and Kadima. He expressed confidence that thanks to such political moves, he would finish among the Likud's top 20 Knesset candidates.

While the Jerusalem Post’s claims Netanyahu won a ‘landslide’ victory in Likud party elections only 40% of eligble Likud voters cast ballots so I wouldn’t be too cocky about any ‘win’. Feiglin does not yet enjoy the same support in Likud as Bibi but his fraction is not to be sneezed at. Overall, I see this as a positive step for Likud, and if there is one person who could keep Netanyahu honest and stop him from giving away everything but the kitchen sink - it would be Feiglin.

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