Zehut party chairman and former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin accused opponents on both the Right and Left of making a concerted effort to target Zehut, blaming a “concerted, elaborate liquidation campaign” for his party’s surprising electoral loss.
Pre-election polls over the past month had consistently shown Zehut, a libertarian-leaning faction making its first Knesset bid, crossing the 3.25% electoral threshold and entering the Knesset with four to seven seats.
Shortly after the polls closed Tuesday night, however, exit polls showed the party falling far below the minimum threshold, with little chance of the faction closing the gap. With 97% of the vote counted, Zehut had received a total of just over 101,000 votes, or 2.51% of the vote, leaving a gap of over 30,000 votes between it and the minimum threshold.
In a Facebook message to supporters, Feiglin said the party’s defeat in the election was not yet certain, but blamed its apparent loss on efforts by both the Left and Right to smear the party and its platform.
“It is still hard to know with any certainty what the final results will be,” Feiglin wrote Wednesday morning. “The soldiers’ votes have yet to be counted. But the question of whether Zehut will be in or out begs a much larger question.”
“Where did the great spirit which captured a whole generation with a storm of excitement no party has ever managed to inspire go?”
“What happened to the polls which showed us with eight mandates?”
Feiglin claimed established parties on both the Right and Left launched a ‘concerted effort’ to drive away voters, including a last-minute announcement by Kulanu, Shas, and United Torah Judaism that they would refuse to join a coalition with Zehut – effectively forcing Zehut out of any right-wing government.
“What on earth do Kulanu, Shas, and [UTJ] have to do with each other? What is their mutual interest against Zehut, which supersedes the differences between those different groups? And what links these three parties with the Jewish Home and the National Union and rabbis from Judea and Samaria, who kept up a spiteful campaign against Zehut (as opposed to targeting the New Right, which betrayed them)? And what links all of them together with Meretz, Haaretz, the mainstream media…and the old Left?”
“They all teamed up against [Zehut] in a concerted, elaborate liquidation campaign, which seems to have worked.”