Daily Israel Report

Manhigut Yehudit Study Reveals What Likudniks Want

Moshe Feiglin of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction within the Likud, commissioned a study to find out what the Likud voter is looking for and was pleasantly surprised.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 11/30/2005, 5:56 AM / Last Update: 11/29/2005, 4:31 PM

Speaking with Israel National Radio's Eli Stutz and Yishai Fleisher Show, Feiglin spoke about the faction's new efforts. "We decided that this time we are going to need to work much more professionally…We hired political campaigners, but told them right from the beginning 'you are going to have a hard time with us. You are going to serve us and find out how to deliver Manhigut Yehudit's ideas to the public, and not how to mold our ideas in accordance with what you think is in the public's mind.' "

According to Feiglin, the campaign managers were encouraged by the ideals of Manhigut members but embarked on an extensive study to determine which of those ideals are most important to the average Likud voter. "When they came back to us with these four points, we were very encouraged, as it showed that the Likud voters are in fact very healthy.

The four Manhigut points most valued by Likud members were:

1. Family values. "As odd as it sounds, nobody is mentioning family values," Feiglin said. "People don't know, but today, if you decide to build a family in Israel, you are punished to the tune of thousands of shekels a month." Feiglin provided an example of an unmarried couple, with three or four kids even, paying about a tenth of the taxes a married couple in the same situation would pay. He said Manhigut members have long spoken and written about preserving family values and that legislation to address the specific law discriminating against married couples was already being put forward by Manhigut's Michael Fuah.

2. Education. Feiglin said the average Likud member answered in the affirmative to the following question. "Do you think that every Israeli kid – not necessarily religious – should have one hour a day of Jewish tradition, Jewish history or Jewish values – not religious learning, but Jewish learning?" He said the pollsters were stunned by the results. "If I would ask NRP voters or Hareidi voters I could understand, but these are Likud voters," Feiglin marveled.

3. Security. "We are not only talking about completely erasing the Oslo process, the Oslo direction, but going back from that direction," Feiglin said. "[The Likudniks] all agreed that only Moshe Feiglin can really go away from that direction. Not only that, but our platform that talks about annexing the land and declaring sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel still in our hands gets a very good response as well."

4. Supreme Court. "Manhigut Yehudit is talking about coming out with a new law that judges of the Supreme court will be elected by the people, not by themselves, as is the current practice," Feiglin said. "It can either be directly or through the Knesset, but definitely elected by the people and representing the people's values."

"From these four points, we saw that the people of Israel are really waiting for this message," Feiglin said. "Only Manhigut Yehudit is bringing it."

Asked by interviewer Fleisher what Manhigut Yehudit's relationship with rabbinic leadership is, Feiglin said that while questions of Jewish law would always be brought before the faction's rabbis, questions of policy and strategy would only give rabbinic opinions the same weight as any other experts. "We have a rabbinical committee of rabbis who are members and volunteers in Manhigut Yehudit and identify completely with our ideas," Feiglin said. "Any time we get to any Jewish legal question we ask them and do exactly what they say. These are only halachic (Jewish legal) questions, though, we don't ask them political questions about which direction to take or ideology to draw from. In these issues these rabbis' ideas are very important to us, just like everybody else. We have no Manhigut Yehudit Council of Torah Sages. "


Host Eli Stutz asked Feiglin what he would reply to the assertion that every issue is relevant to the dictates of Jewish law.

"When I first started Manhigut I asked my personal rabbi and close friend about joining the Likud," he answered. "His answer was that it doesn't look like a good idea, but he understands that in this issue, I may understand more than he does. Later on he agreed very much with what I did. These are the kind of rabbis we consult with. They understand what their expertise is. It does not mean they don't have a say in policy, but their say in policy is not halacha, but rather the input of a very wise person."

Feiglin believes that the upcoming Likud primaries, which are to take place in less than three weeks, present an incredible opportunity to take control of the Likud Party and bring about a change in the direction of the State of Israel. "We have now an unbelievable opportunity to get Manhigut Yehudit ahead," he said. "We need a little miracle, smaller than what Amir Peretz [who beat incumbent Shimon Peres contrary to all predictions] had, to get to the second round and maybe even win. Everybody must get to work and get all of the Likudnikim he knows to get to the polls to vote the right way. People should call 1-800-200-613 to get involved. There are only two and a half weeks ‘til the primaries and I am telling you, we can do what Peretz did in the Labor Party and bring about a great change in Israeli and Jewish History."

To learn more about Jewish Leadership, its platform and plan for Israel's future, visit JewishIsrael.org