Feiglin: I May Vote for Jewish Home

Former Likud MK makes surprising show of support for Bennett's party Tuesday - for sociological reasons.

Ido Ben-Porat and Tova Dvorin,

Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

MK Moshe Feiglin, chairman of  the Manhigut Yisrael faction formerly aligned with Likud, declared Tuesday he may vote for Jewish Home - in comments he made on the addition of soccer star Eli Ohana to the party. 

"Ohana's addition to the party is a very important indicator of where matters are going," Feiglin stated. "The cupboard of identities of Israeli society has collapsed - and that is a good thing... All of the drawers in the cupboard are stuck, they do not work, you cannot place anyone inside them anymore." 

Feiglin explained that in his view, old boundaries between religious and secular, liberal and conservative, and ethnic groups have begun to melt away for the first time in Israeli political history. 

"Even the differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic [Jews] are not what they used to be," he stated. 

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett is deeply involved with changing the face of politics, he said.

"[He is] stuck with his party deep in this problem," he said. "He can only maneuver in this space [the Religious-Zionist niche - ed.] - and he does not have the keys to get out [of it]. He is connected only to survival - not to a purpose."

However, Feiglin lauded Bennett's "real social message, the removal of barriers between religious and secular" and noted that "the very breaking of these concepts, the space he created with great skill, now allow him to lead." 

Feiglin predicted that Bennett and Jewish Home will never be able to bring about "significant changes" like preventing withdrawals or saving settlements from being torn down. 

"But I may vote for him, because of Eli Ohana," he added.

Jewish Home greatly expanded its Knesset list and platforms beyond the Religious Zionist niche, and its Knesset list includes both religious and secular Israelis from all backgrounds. More notable candidates, both for the Knesset and in the party primaries, include former leftist politician Anat Roth and Israeli Arab candidate Anett Haskia

Bennett's party is not the only party to be expanding its horizons, however. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid opened an office to address religious issues for observant voters for the first time earlier this month; even one Labor candidate defines herself as "traditional" and keeps Kosher, despite the party's secular bent and emphasis on separation between religion and state. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Eli Yishai's new Yachad-Ha'am Itanu party specifically aims to reach out to "every type of religious Jew," regardless of ethnicity or level of observance - a model based on the relative unity of different Jewish sectors in communities abroad and atypical for a haredi party.