Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is the Likud/Feiglin a good choice

The klezmer festival in tsfat last night was very enjoyable. We took the kids with us and they all seemed to have a good time, except that they were so exhausted that we left fairly early. It went exactly as expected, the kids had a fight before we left and then whined about which seat in the car. As we were walking they each got annoyed that another one was walking in their way. We brought a stroller for #4 so that he wouldn't complain that he needed to be picked up the whole time and #5 ride the whole time in the front pack.
My wife planned the food very well, so we had a deli sandwich picnic before the music started, and then we walked around to hear the various bands. We left in the middle of Simply Tsfat because I really didn't want to carry the children all the way back to the bus.

Onwards to Feiglin. Yesterday the Likud had internal elections and the 2 front-runners were Netanyahu (74%) and Feiglin (23%). Netanyahu said afterwards that he was going to work to get Feiglin removed from the Likud and he would not allow him any influence in decisions or the Knesset list. He went so far as to instruct his supporters not to let Feiglin in the victory tent, where traditionally the winner sends next to the loser and gives his victory speech. How is it that Netanyahu can afford to alienate almost a third of his voters? 40% of the Likud turned out to vote. One (good) assumption is that 100% of Feiglin supporters came out to vote and everyone who didn't vote either assumed Netanyahu would win and didn't want to waste their time or didn't want to vote for either candidate, but didn't support Feiglin. That still gives Feiglin 17% support, which is very significant. However, there are other factors that have to be considered when looking at the Israeli political spectrum.

Lets look at this from the Likud's perspective.
The worst case scenario is that Feiglin left the Likud and went to another party. Probably 1/3 to 1/2 of his supporters would stay in the Likud because that is their "political home." Now he has 10% of the Likud going into another party. They have 2 choices, they can go into the NRP, which is their assumed natural home or they can make a deal with Lieberman and try to accomplish the same thing there. If they go to the NRP that would be great for the Likud. In the national elections, the NRP would most likely sign a coalition deal with the Likud then with any other party. The Likud would have to compromise on their platform a little to make a coalition agreement. This is much better for Netanyahu then if he had to change the Likud's internal platform for Feiglin's 20%. In either case he has the same number of votes and he has to compromise, but keeping them in the Likud presents a greater danger to him then driving them out.

If they join up with Lieberman, then there are real problems for the Likud, but again Lieberman needs the Likud to form any coalition. The issue between Lieberman and Netanyahu would be which one is slightly bigger so they can be the ruling party.
In summation, even if Feiglin is driven from the LIkud, the Likud has almost the same chance of gaining power as it did before. Lieberman would also be very hesitant to make a deal with Feiglin, when Feiglin's platform is to change the platform of the party to fit his people better. Lieberman would also be very happy if Feiglin was absorbed into the NRP because that is a good coalition partner for him as well.

In any case, the odds are that Feiglin will not bolt the Likud and therefore Netanyahu can easily afford to marginalize him. The media has been against Feiglin and will probably continue on that way. It is well known (whether true or not) that a percentage of Feiglin's supporters do not vote Likud in the national elections, they just joined the party to help Feiglin change the party's platform. That causes the core Likudnikim to look at Feiglin and his people as interlopers.

It might make more sense for Feiglin to work at building a stronger NRP, which can be looked at as the religious wing of the top right wing party and make his gains in coalition agreements.

For Feiglin to succeed in the Likud he needs to build greater positive media attention - and that will not be an easy thing to do.


Kaos said...

I stumbled upon ur blog by sheer accident but interesting articles indeed.
I am interested in hearing the prespective of someone who actualy lives there. I only get my information throught the Arab media and don't get to hear the real people.. am glad I found your blog now
I have a question.... I see in your profile that you believe in a jewish monarchy, which I understand your view however, I am interested to know what you think about theh other religions involved in that historic land namely christianity and islam.
Would a jewish state respect the rights of muslims to visit the aqsa mosque and secure and maintain it?

rockofgalilee said...


Glad you found my blog. You ask a very interesting question about whether a Jewish State would respect the rights of other religions.

First of all, the entire issue of a Jewish Monarchy isn't as simple as it sounds, because throughout Jewish history (according to the Books of Kings) there have been very few good kings. Of course, throughout the Israeli democracy there have been very few good prime ministers as well.

In terms of whether a Jewish State would respect the rights of other religions, it would depend on the nature of the other religions (and the nature of the Jewish state).

According to Judaism, the problem with another religion would be specifically if the religion believed in multiple Gods or in a specific object being God (for example the Sun). However Islam (and Christianity without the divinity of a trinity) worship the same God as we do, that being the creator of heaven and earth. Our laws say that Jews have a greater responsibility then non-Jews, and non-Jews are considered good people if they keep a basic moral laws, including no killing, stealing, adultery, ... If a group of non-Jews (read Islam) decided to be more spiritual and came up with their own code of how to live moral lives above and beyond the basic 7 laws, Judaism would respect that. (As long as part of the religion was not that Jews are pigs and monkeys and deserve to be killed, of course).
We believe that other groups can have prophets, such as Bilaam was a non-Jewish prophet, so we don't have any problem with Mohammad being a prophet, though if he was it would not impact the Jewish people.

The issue of al aqsa is more difficult, because the mosque is built on the most sacred Jewish site, that being of the Jewish temple. Religious Jews are waiting for the prophecy that the Temple will be rebuilt on the same place to come true. But when that happens, or so the tradition goes, it will be without a doubt from God and the whole world will accept it. So we're not talking about knocking down the mosque as soon as there is a religious majority in Israel. When it happens, my understanding is that the Muslims would agree that this is God's will.

Israel today is a Jewish state, but not a religious state. All other religions are respected. When we won the war of 1967 and recaptured Jerusalem, Muslims and Christians were given full rights to all of their holy places.

In a number of Jewish commandments it is written that Jews must respect non-Jews living in their midst. The non-Jews have to accept a minimum of the 7 basic laws to be considered moral people.

I hope this answered your questions. Feel free to ask again.

Yehudi said...

Great answer! Couldn't have said it better myself!