Likud Candidate Feiglin on Arutz-7: 'I Aim to Run - and Win'

The Likud Elections Committee is set to issue a decision regarding the eligibility of Moshe Feiglin to run for Likud leader.

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Hillel Fendel,

Just before the Likud Elections Committee rejected a request on Monday to disqualify Moshe Feiglin from running for Likud leader, Feiglin arrived in Beit El for an interview with Arutz-7.

Another request to disqualify Feiglin, head of the Likud's Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction, from running in the upcoming party primaries has also been submitted to the Likud Court.  The case will be heard on Thursday.  Likud member Mishael Ben-Ami, who submitted the request, charges that Feiglin has called for Jewish Law to become the law of the land, and promotes "dangerous ideological refusal [in the army]."

In response, Feiglin filed a criminal complaint with the police against Ben-Ami, saying the request is based totally on lies.  Feiglin assumes that the request to disqualify him stems from the camp of incumbent party leader Binyamin Netanyahu, and that it indicates that Netanyahu is "in a panic over my candidacy." 

Feiglin plans to appeal if he is not allowed to run.  He says he will appeal first within the Likud, and if necessary, even to the Supreme Court.

The Likud primaries will take place on August 14; Netanyahu and Beitar activist Danny Danon are the other candidates.

Former Likud MK Uzi Landau - against whom, inter alia, Feiglin ran for party leader several years ago - and Likud MK Michael Eitan said that Feiglin should be allowed to run for party leader.

Meanwhile, Feiglin's talk with Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen took place in a relaxed atmosphere in Arutz-7 studios.  Excerpts thereof:

Cohen: Come on now, are you really serious [about running for Likud candidate for Prime Minister]?

Feiglin: Do I look like I'm just playing around? 12,000 people have already voted with their feet, registering in my camp – not just people collected by vote contractors.  This is my third time running for party leader; last time I received 12.5% of the vote, and this time I'll get even more.  Silvan Shalom [a former Likud Foreign Minister and present-day MK who was Netanyahu's main challenger in the last party election, but withdrew from the current race several weeks ago - ed.] received even less support than I did, but you're not asking him whether he was serious – because I have a kippah on and I look like I don't belong in the Likud.

Cohen: No, I'm asking you if you really believe that someone without experience in legislation, in managing parties and coalitions and the like can really walk in and head the government.

Feiglin: I know the politics all too well after my 6-7 years in the Likud, and this political mud doesn't bother me, and with G-'ds help, we will reach the top.  But I do want to say: In normal times, experience is truly a plus.  But in the current situation, when our national ship is hurtling with full speed towards the iceberg and is just about grazing it – most of the citizens today don't even believe at this minute that the State will still be around in time for their children – what is needed now is a real revolution. It is precisely someone without experience and connections and the accompanying obligations, and someone who has not become dirtied, but rather someone whose strength comes from the people - it is only someone like that who can really rescue this country.  For the catastrophic near-terminal situation that we are talking about, we need a 180-degree turn; my lack of experience is a plus.

Cohen: The public that you're talking about from which you claim to gain your support is a very small and right-wing group, people who believe that even the NRP is a left-wing party.  So how can you say you have so much support?

Feiglin: It's so untrue what you're saying.  I'll tell you a secret: Within the Likud, it's already known that I'm not going to receive just a few percentage points – 12 or so like last time, but much more…  Our slogan is, "Feiglin – because he has a G-d" - despite the fact that some advisors said this just plays into the hands of those who accuse me of being a religious extremist who wants a state of Halakhah [Jewish Law] – and the reason we went with this slogan is because we know that the public is sick of leaders who don't tell the truth and who just go whichever way the wind blows.  They want someone they can trust and someone whom they know "has  a G-d."  In addition, we have to bring back G-d to the field, we need a return to Jewish identity and culture and tradition and Bible - and many in Israel feel the same way.

Cohen: Are you willing to be a regular Knesset Member, or are you running only for Prime Minister?

Feiglin:  ...My purpose is not merely to pass particular laws which I feel are important, but to create a new leadership.  If however, I do not win the race and am not elected as leader, I will still run on the Likud list for MK... Neither will I accept a deal to become a Cabinet minister in exchange for withdrawing from this race.

Cohen: Many people said I should ask you if you don't believe that your presence in the Likud drives many centrist Likudniks towards the left - towards Kadima and the Pensioners and the like - and away from the nationalist camp.

Feiglin: Those who told you to ask that are making a mistake.  They think that the country is divided into left and right-wing, into religious and secular.  But it's not true – the country is divided between "Jews" and "Israelis," between those who want to maintain their Jewish identity to one extent or another, and those who don't.  When Peres lost the election in 1996 to Netanyahu, he himself said that the "Jews" won, and that the "Israelis" lost – he understood this point.  We now know that the "Jews" are the majority. 

This is our basic understanding in Manhigut Yehudit; we are not a minority, but rather the majority of the nation, and we represent the nation.  Netanyahu doesn't understand this; he keeps acting as if he's "moderate left-wing," and people can't tell the difference between him and [Labor Party leader Ehud] Barak.  The press sees this, and will tell the public to simply vote for the real McCoy...  The more Netanyahu attacks me, the more he positions himself as an imitator of the left, but then the public will rather vote for the real thing and not for the imitation." 

Cohen: Briefly, what is your position on the Supreme Court?

Feiglin: We are suffering from a judicial dictatorship that does not represent the country's values, and the only movement that has made it its goal to repair this is Jewish Leadership.

Cohen: Briefly, what is your position on the status of Gush Katif and northern Shomron?

Feiglin: We believe very strongly in a return to, and full annexation of, these areas, and in fact of all Judea and Samaria. I very much admire the returnees to Homesh and Nisanit, but we all realize that without a national leadership that will appreciate them, their goals will remain dreams.  Now is a rare opportunity for us in the "faith" camp to take the leadership into our hands, and return Israel to the people. It's not beyond our grasp.  The polls show that we are doing very well, and that we can win.  Our goal is victory, and it is within our ability to do so and put a belief-based leadership at the head of the Likud.