Feiglin vows Zehut will run for Knesset, despite internal split

Despite failure in previous election and amid turmoil within the party, libertarian-leaning Zehut party will run again, vows Moshe Feiglin.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Flash 90

The Zehut party, led by former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, will run again for the Knesset this September, despite internal turmoil and the party’s poor performance in the April 9th election.

Speaking with Reshet Bet Monday morning, Feiglin said that he was still open to the idea of forming an alliance with other right-wing parties, but emphasized that Zehut would run again for the Knesset, even if it ends up doing so alone.

“We’re here, a very significant party, very serious, with thousands of members,” said Feiglin, adding that Zehut is “preparing for the elections,” and noted that “in some of the polls we’re already passing the minimum threshold.”

Feiglin said that in the next election, the party would emphasize its right-wing, nationalist bona fides, suggesting that the defeat in the April election was due at least in part to concerns among voters that the party would not held build a right-wing government.

“The public didn’t remember me from ‘Zo Artzeinu’ or my total commitment to nationalist values,” said Feiglin, referring to his protest movement formed in the early 1990s to oppose the Oslo Accords.

“So now it will be clear that we are a part of the right-wing bloc, a fact that wasn’t clear in the last election, but will be emphasized in the coming campaign.”

But, Feiglin, added, Zehut would continue to put its free market economic positions at the top of its platform.

“The economic issues – lowering the cost of living, reducing the cost of housing – those will be the central issues of the campaign.”

The Zehut chief added that while he was still open to a joint ticket with the New Right party, Zehut would run for the next Knesset even if no alliance is formed.

“There’s no problem regarding positions” within a joint list, “anyway it would just be a technical bloc. No matter what, Zehut will be running.”

In the previous election, Zehut had been projected to win four to five seats, clearing the 3.25% electoral threshold.

But on election day, the party netted just 118,031 votes – or 2.74%, some 22,000 votes short of the threshold.

Since then, Zehut has been wracked by internal divisions, with several Knesset candidates protesting Feiglin’s plan to appoint long-time ally and party director-general Shai Malka to a higher position on the party’s Knesset slate.

As the backlash over plans to alter the Knesset list intensified, Malka pulled his name from the party’s Knesset slate. Zehut’s leadership vowed to resolve the “crisis” by holding new leadership elections, while granting the party chairman full discretion in selecting the party’s list.

“The crisis created in our party will be resolved through the democratic vote of all its members,” the Feiglin said in a statement to Zehut members.

“In light of the crisis that has broken out in our party, and after an honest attempt and great effort to reach a compromise, I have decided that the continued existence of the party and the ability to fulfill its vision require me to ratify my authority as chairman anew and to subject myself again to the vote of all party members, by asking the highest body in the party – the entirety of its members – to entrust me with the position of chairman of the party, together with the authority to determine, only for the upcoming elections and due to time constraints, the composition of the list of party candidates for the 22nd Knesset, at my sole discretion.”

“The vote will give the elected chairman full authority to determine, for the coming elections only, at his sole discretion, the entire list for the 22nd Knesset.”

The leadership election was cancelled days later, however, when the sole challenger dropped out of the race.