Thursday, January 29, 2009

Elections 101

By Moshe Feiglin

Why vote at all?

Israel is controlled by the Left. The Jewish majority has no democratic avenue to fashion Israel's society according to its values. The rightist parties are nothing more than a fig leaf, just barely concealing this basic truth. Personally, I would not bother to vote if Manhigut Yehudit were not in the Likud. The fact that a new alternative is growing inside the Likud - an alternative that allows the voter to vote for an idea other than the Oslo religion that controls all the large parties - is the only glimmer of hope for true democracy in Israel. That is why it is important to join and vote for the Likud.

Everyone understands the above. But they forget every time elections roll around. At the moment of truth - it is hard for people to make strategic decisions. They opt instead for tactical mediocrity such as, "Don't be right - be smart." This time, though, we can be both right and smart. Even tactical considerations still point us in the direction of the Likud.

Why not National Union or Jewish Home?

According to the latest polls, the National Union and Jewish Home parties are teetering on the edge of Knesset representation. But even if one of the parties does make it into the Knesset, its political influence will be negligible. It is important to remember how much the National Union and NRP 'impressed' Sharon as he bulldozed the destruction of Gush Katif through the Knesset. The only place that he had to wage a serious political battle was within his own party.

Netanyahu has already declared that he will form a national unity government. The religious/nationalist parties will be out of the government or will be used to stabilize the coalition until the time will come to dispose of them. (Remember Benny Alon and Avigdor Lieberman).

This is not mere speculation. It is an obvious conclusion based on years of negative experience. Whoever wants to continue to fool himself and to have representatives in the Knesset who look just like him but who have absolutely no political influence - should vote for National Union or Jewish Home. (For more on this topic, see Moshe Feiglin's article, "Why Vote Likud?").

Why not vote for Lieberman?

"Why were you arrested?" the thief in my jail cell asked me.
"I blocked roads, organized demonstrations - that type of thing," I tried to end the conversation.
"What scoundrels!" said the thief. "They also arrested me for no reason!"

No, nobody thinks that the State Prosecution does not have an agenda. They really are out to get Lieberman. He is not part of the old-boy club and as far as they are concerned, he is amassing too much power. If the elections were nothing more than an insignificant game, it might have been worth it to vote for Lieberman for that reason alone. But just as in the above anecdote about the thief, the fact that the system is corrupt does not mean that you are an honest person.

The memory of the Right seems to be extremely short. Strongman Lieberman joined and upheld Olmert's government for almost two years - for no visible reason. He did not prevent any retreat and the array of allegations against him and his dubious business dealings are a guarantee that at the moment of truth, the way will be found to force him to vote with the elites - who will use all the nave votes of the Right to expedite the next expulsion.

Lieberman's name is associated with Martin Schlaf. This is the same Martin Schlaf who came into sudden wealth and whose name is criminally associated with Ariel Sharon (through Cyril Keren). Sharon was also a strongman until his misdoings forced him to execute the policies of the Left. Sharon had no less love for Israel than Lieberman. On the contrary - he had a long history of self-sacrifice for the Land of Israel.

Before the elections, Lieberman makes some politically incorrect declarations about the Arabs and captures the hearts of rightist voters. Afterwards, he's back to business. A vote for Lieberman may be good for his business, but as he proved last time around, it will ultimately be used to the detriment of the Jewish majority.

Once more, this is not mere speculation. It is an obvious conclusion based on years of negative experience.

You really want me to vote for Bibi?

Bibi doesn't need you. All the polls show that the Likud will get 30 mandates without you. And the Likud is gaining in the polls all the time. The question is where will the votes of the ideological Right go?

To the small, patently non-influential parties? To Lieberman's business connections? Or to the steering wheel and brakes of the ruling party?

Your vote for the Likud is not a vote for Bibi. It is a vote for the people in slots 30 and up. Eight of them are Land of Israel loyalists and former Likud 'rebels.' Slot 31: Keti Sheetrit, Slot 33: Sagiv Asulin, Slot 34: Boaz Haetzni, Slot 36: Moshe Feiglin, Slot 37: Michi Ratzon, Slot 38: Ehud Yatom, Slot 39: Shalom Lerner of the Achi faction, Slot 40: Osnat Mark.

If you vote for the other rightist parties, you will be watching the game from the bleachers - at the very best.

If you vote Likud, your players will be part of the game!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Melted Lead

Even before the Cast Lead operation began, we had analyzed and predicted its inevitable result. During the operation, we witnessed an extreme dichotomy. On the one hand, we experienced the wondrous awakening of a nation that has been browbeaten and brainwashed for years. On the other, we were frustrated by leadership clueless as to how to lead these awakening forces in a positive direction. There was no doubt that it would turn the awe-inspiring self-sacrifice of our soldiers and the fruits of their victory into - defeat.

Both the US and Egypt expected Israel to strike a fatal and final blow upon Iran's representatives in Gaza. Now that Israel has proven that it cannot triumph, the nations of the world will join up with the strong side. From their point of view, they are completely right. The pressure on Israel to continue withdrawals will steadily increase. Netanyahu is careful not to commit himself to preserving Judea and Samaria in Israel's control. Obama is not interested in waiting. The picture is very clear.

More than any other place in Israel, Gaza symbolizes Israel's rejection of its land - the modern day sin of the spies. Today, whoever dares to say that Israel must re-conquer and resettle Gaza is immediately relegated to a lonely place outside the bounds of legitimate public discourse. Israel's leadership (including Netanyahu) is careful to repeat that we must not conquer Gaza. To do so, would be to negate the Oslo rationale. If Israel were to re-conquer Gaza, any further withdrawals would be totally irrelevant. But all three major parties - the Likud, Kadimah and Labor - have built their platforms around withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (with slight nuances between the parties). They have not freed themselves of the Betrayal of the Land of Israel Principle. That is why they cannot conquer Gaza. As far as they are concerned, there is a broad national consensus to reject it. If they were to conquer Gaza, they may get stuck, G-d forbid, with the Land of Israel.

Israel will not allow itself to win by conquering Gaza. But it won't even allow itself to win by destroying the Hamas. To do so would mean that we would have to institute a military government in Gaza. We would have to assume responsibility - or some minor form of sovereignty. Our leaders are not open to that, either.

As we wrote in last week's update, two days before the ceasefire:
There is no national leader today in Israel who is willing to simply declare that this is our land. Including Gaza. And if we can't say that, we can't win. The real purpose of the current war is not to conquer our land. The real purpose of this war is to re-adjust the post-Disengagement reality so that we can abandon our land without getting hit with missiles.

And that is impossible.

Eventually, the current euphoria will fade into deep frustration. It is likely that the exasperation will be channeled toward the current government and that support for the Likud will grow.

The first part of that forecast began to become reality last Saturday night. Now we can look forward to the realization of the second part of the forecast. It is entirely likely that the Likud will win over thirty seats in the upcoming elections - and that the Likud candidates that Netanyahu tried so hard to eliminate will be meeting him in the halls of the Knesset.

Why Vote Likud?

That is very easy to explain. As all signs point to a Netanyahu victory - with or without the faith-based vote - a vote for the Likud under the present circumstances is not a vote for Bibi. Rather, it is a vote for Feiglin.

The remnants of the NRP and the National Union parties - even if they do get into the Knesset - will have no political influence. Netanyahu has already announced that he will form a national unity government. Ketzaleh is the last person that he would want to see in his coalition. It will be much more expedient for Bibi to enjoy the support of the Left - even if he will have to put up with the protests of the Right.

But Netanyahu will not be able to ignore Feiglin, Haetzni and eight other MKs who are now in the 30 plus slots on the Likud list if they are elected to the Knesset. After all, they are in his party. Inside the ruling party, MKs can actually slam on the brakes - instead of trying to stop the train with their bare hands while standing on the tracks.

Where did the parliamentary struggle against the Expulsion from Gush Katif take place? In the NRP or the National Union? Or in the Likud?
Who made Sharon sweat? And whom did he disregard?
In the end, we lost the anti-Expulsion Knesset battle because of Orlev and because Bibi did not provide the Likud 'rebels' with the parliamentary leadership that they so sorely needed. But one thing is clear: No significant political battle is possible outside the Likud. Those who register for the Likud and vote for the party have figuratively bought a ticket to play the game - and not just to shout from the bleachers.

After I was bumped down to thirty sixth place on the Likud list, Professor Aryeh Eldad took advantage of a media interview to offer me the top position in his party. It was a most generous political proposal. The National Union party under the leadership of Ketzaleh had not yet re-formed, the Jewish Home party had crumbled and the chance to gather the majority of nationalist voters plus Russian speakers plus the general hard core Right into a new "Faith Revival Party" looked good. In my estimation, it could have won eight Knesset mandates.

But if I would have accepted Eldad's generous offer, I would have effectively betrayed all the people to whom I have turned for support since I established Zo Artzeinu. Because accepting this proposal would mean extracting every last drop of potential out of our sector - and closing the door on the rest of Israel's voters. Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party will likely never be prime minister because that is precisely what he does. He capitalizes on the sector-based power of the Russian voters - plus a bit more. Effie Eitam attempted to do the same thing and we see where he is today. So I declined Eldad's offer. It may mean that I will remain outside the Knesset in this round. But the track steering the faith based public to leadership of this country will remain wide open.

Editor's Note: The rest of this article appeared in last week's update. Click here to read.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Miss the Opportunity

By Moshe Feiglin
18 Tevet 5769
Jan. 14 '09

It is entirely possible that the two National Religious parties - the rejuvenated NRP and the rejuvenated National Union - will not garner enough votes to get into the next Knesset. That eventuality will be the best thing that has happened to Religious Zionism in the past years.

Allow me to explain. When I found out that I had been elected to the 20th place on the Likud list, I was a bit disappointed. All the polls and the positive feedback pointed to a much higher placement. But it turned out that the technical obstacles intentionally wrought upon the voting stations in which I had strong backing together with the healthily funded campaign claiming that "Feiglin will cost the Likud six mandates" took their toll. The very fact that we overcame all the attempts to block me and that I nevertheless was elected to a realistic place on the Likud list created a genuine revolution of consciousness in the faith based public. When I heard "hilltop youth" who would never have considered voting in the elections saying that they would of course vote Likud, I understood the depth of our achievement.

"On that night, I felt that this country also belongs to me," a resident of Kedumim told me. The self-imposed wall that had separated the public that is first to fight for this country from the political and sociological tools with which it could direct it had been broken on the night of the primaries. The result: the faith based public streamed to the Likud. Instead of losing six mandates as the campaign against me had threatened, the Likud steadily climbed in the polls, reaching 40 mandates.

The political significance of the new consciousness was tremendous. At that point, when the faith based public felt that the Likud was its ideological home, it was clear that it would register for the Likud and vote Likud and that no Likud MK would even dream of betraying the values of the national camp. We can even say that on the night of the primaries, the Oslo concept was buried and Israel started out on the long road to national recovery. And it was all because a substantial part of the national camp had dared to abandon its sector-consciousness and join up with the rest of the nation in the Likud.

Afterwards, Netanyahu managed to bump me down to 36th place and in doing so, re-erected the consciousness wall. "Don't let Netanyahu force you back into the sector," I begged the newly liberated faith based voters. "Stay in the Likud." But it didn't help. The new consciousness of belonging created on the night of the primaries evaporated into nothingness. The Likud took a plunge in the polls and the public that is the only hope for the State of Israel once again returned to its sector-shtetl.

"How do you expect me to vote for Bibi?" the faith based people ask me. They don't understand that a vote for the Likud is not a vote for Bibi. A vote for the Likud means that the voter has joined the earthly arena on which the fate of the State of Israel is determined. If you register and vote for the Likud, you have bought a ticket to participate in the game and not just to watch it. "It's your fault," I always tell the people who ask how they can vote for Bibi. "You are not even in the party. So what do you want from Bibi?"

We are now in the midst of a war. If "Big Brother" manages to create a feeling of accomplishment, the elections will be held on time and I will probably not be in the Knesset. If the almost inevitable failure will become apparent before Election Day, the Likud may very well get 40 mandates. But in that case, the elections will be postponed. Nevertheless, when they will be held, I will stand a good chance of entering the Knesset.

One way or another, it will be best for the faith based public if the two national religious parties do not get into the Knesset. In that case, the public on the front lines in battle will have no political choice. It will simply have to join the Likud and save Israel.