Daily Israel Report

Maverick MK Feiglin: Hats Off to Rebel MKs

Independent-minded Likud MK sends messages of support to MK Chetboun for protest against discipline, says he did the same with MK Koll.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 9:28 AM

Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Flash 90

Deputy Knesset Speaker, MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu), sent a message of support Tuesday to MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) for defying Coalition discipline this week and announcing he would vote against the Enlistment Law Wednesday.

"Yesterday, I sent an SMS of support to MK Yoni Chetboun,” wrote Feiglin on Facebook. “Not because I agree with him – but simply because I appreciate any person who goes against the stream and is willing to pay a price for standing up for his principles. I did this with MK Adi Kol, also, after she veered a little from the sacred Coalition discipline and was tarred and feathered by her boss.

"This whole idea of Coalition discipline needs rethinking,” Feiglin added. “Is it really the only way?”

"Sometimes, I entertain 'heretical' thoughts. I would like to set up a government without Coalition discipline. Let every MK be truly responsible for the laws he passes and also for maintaining the government. Let changing wall-to-wall coalitions and oppositions form around every law. Let the Knesset cease being a 'law machine' and restore lost pride to itself and its members.”

MK Chetboun angered his party and the Coalition with the surprise declaration that he plans to vote against the Enlistment Bill. “On the one hand, the members of the Jewish Home party, and chief among them MK Ayelet Shaked, really made a very significant effort so that this law, as I have said in the past, will be workable for the hareidi community,” he told Arutz Sheva Tuesday. "On the other hand, as time goes on – and particularly over the last twenty-four hours – I feel that we are creating a serious schism between us and the Torah world, and the hareidi community.”

“I see Israeli society being split apart by this law. I’m sure nobody meant for that to happen,” he continued. Talk surrounding the law “is creating a message that is against the Torah world, against the yeshivas. That disrespects them,” he lamented. “I felt deep inside that I must listen to my conscience, and that I cannot vote for this law."

Last August, MK Adi Koll (Yesh Atid) was suspended by her own party from membership on Knesset committees and from proposing laws after she abstained from voting on the Governability Law. Koll was forced to apologize publicly for violating coalition discipline.

“Today I abstained from voting on the governability law, she said in a statement. “That was a decision that harmed mainly members of my faction and I apologize.”

On Tuesday, she voted for the law and explained that she was doing so out of respect for her party chairman, but not because she supports the law.

MK Feiglin is known as a maverick politician, who paid a price for his insistence on the right to ascend to the Temple Mount despite heavy pressure by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cease doing so. For over a year, Feiglin was barred by police from visiting the Mount, after his first visits there as an MK caused Muslim anger.

In retaliation, Feiglin announced that he was suspending himself from Coalition discipline. He was then dismissed by Likud-Beytenu from the Knesset’s Education Committee, as a punitive action.

Despite the Likud's decision to dismiss him from the committee, Feiglin emphasized that he does not regret his decisions. “The State of Israel’s sovereignty on the Temple Mount, which is in the heart of Jerusalem and the nation, is dearer to me than any other role,” he said.