Feiglin: ´Orange´ Camp Became Lepers Because We Didn´t Fight

Moshe Feiglin, of the Manhigut Yehudit faction within the Likud Party, explains why the right-wing has lost the support of the nation, and what must be done to win it back.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 8:25 PM

Feiglin spoke with Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher and Alex Traiman about the defeat of Manhigut Knesset candidate Michael Fuah in the recent Likud primaries. He dismissed calls for an end to the effort to take over the Likud as "short-sighted."

"It is not about the Knesset," Feiglin said. "We have great people in the Knesset. But where are MKs Effie Eitam, Benny Elon and Aryeh Eldad, who we all like so much, today? They have been in there for ten, fifteen years, and have only proven that being in the Knesset doesn't matter. The Supreme Court and [Chief Justice] Aharon Barak have the final word, controlling the Knesset and the government at the end of the day. It is about influence, and if you look at influence, Manhigut Yehudit has had more than any of them. Compare the position of Manhigut Yehudit two years ago with what it is today. It is a completely different world. For a whole month [prior to the primaries for Likud chairman], Israelis were hearing me and seeing Manhigut Yehudit every day and hearing our message."

Feiglin said that every time Manhigut fails in one of its short-term goals, those who opposed their approach from the beginning call for an end to the effort and a retreat back to the religious and right-wing parties. "There were two political struggles in the last month and a half," Feiglin said. "The first one - the primaries for head of the party - was a great success. Nobody was asking whether we did the right thing when we had 13% of the vote. Then came Michael Fuah's campaign for the Knesset. It was a failure, and now everybody is asking what are we doing in Likud.

"It is just like last year, when everyone commended us after the Likud referendum, but asked what we are still doing in the Likud after Sharon ignored the decision and went to destroy Gush Katif. This is not the way you judge things. We have ups and downs. We sometimes succeed and we sometimes fail, but what is good about Manhigut Yehudit is that we have the right target. We sometimes make mistakes, but... we learn from them and move forward."

Asked whether he would consider breaking with the Likud to start a political alternative outside the party, Feiglin said: "The whole train is moving in a destructive direction, so if you just improve the caboose, you aren't changing anything."

Feiglin said he did not begrudge Netanyahu for trying to throw him out of the party: "I don't hate Netanyahu and I don't think he hates me. He definitely wants me out of the party because he is afraid of Manhigut Yehudit. He is afraid because he is a smart guy and has good reason to. He takes Manhigut much more seriously than the religious public does – and so does the left."

A longtime activist who moved to the Gush Katif seaside community of Shirat HaYam prior to its destruction, Feiglin explained why Manhigut Yehudit and outspoken anti-expulsion politicians have seen a loss in support within the Likud and overall.

"In the summer, something amazing happened," Feiglin said. "The entire Israeli society was sitting on their couches watching the 2005 Disengagement Olympics. Every night, the television showed each side preparing for the battle. Most Israelis were with us, hoping we would win. Their team was the orange camp. The two fighters squared off and the bell was sounded - but one of the sides didn't get up from the chair, it didn't want to fight. The blue [the color of the pro-withdrawal camp –ed.] boxer got up and started fighting, but the orange fighter just sat in his chair.

"The fact is that the orange boxer did not fight and in a few days, after all the words and a year of waiting, the surrender was obvious. After a year of waiting – the public said, 'OK, nobody promised victory, but at least show that you care. If you lose at least we will stay with you and hope that the next round you will win. But if you aren't fighting there is no reason to stay with you.'

"Let's say you root for a team and when game time comes your team doesn't even take the field – you will look for another team to root for. The entire national camp in Israel understood from that action that Sharon was right all along – 'After all, if they won't even fight, then they proved he was right from the start.' And Israelis went with Sharon 'Kadima' [forward].'"

"That is what happened in the Likud as well," Feiglin concluded. "All those factions that were in favor of the Orange Camp and began working with Manhigut Yehudit, either left with Kadima or tried to create Kadima II within the Likud. Manhigut, together with a very small minority of forces within the Likud, are now in a state of loneliness. But this situation will change very drastically when it blows up in Israel's face."

"Since the summer, when we proved we are not willing to fight, we became lepers. We are the enemies of the state and have lost our human dignity. We must gain it back."

Interviewer Fleisher asked: "You left the Zo Artzeinu civil disobedience protest group you founded to form this Jewish Leadership movement – you left something that focused on the short-term struggles for something that struggles for future leadership. Does all the looming destruction make you think twice about how long the latter way takes and the lack of leadership fighting the short-term battles?

"The fact that we will win in the end – I believe for sure," Feiglin answered. "The reason the way of Manhigut Yehudit takes so much longer is that before we fight with the left, we find ourselves fighting with ourselves. We got 10,000-15,000 people to sign up for the Likud in the first years of recruiting. Amir Peretz registered 30,000 people to Labor in two years and took control of the party. You can take the Jews out of Egypt, but you can't take Egypt out of the Jews. Creating a Jewish leadership for the State of Israel is the only answer and everyone in Israel today understands it, thank G-d.

"The reason why it takes so much time is because too many people feel too comfortable with the existing situation."

Click here to listen to the whole interview on Israel National Radio