MK Feiglin
MK FeiglinIsrael news photo: Flash 90

MK Moshe Feiglin, a maverick Likud MK who has positioned himself for years as an alternative to Binyamin Netanyahu in Likud's top seat, predicted Tuesday that a “catastrophe” is near and said that time is running out for him to take the nation's leadership.

“The goal is for me to be prime minister... Look right and left – is there another candidate? No. So I am the man. I need to be prime minister,”, he told the supporters who gathered at his Manhigut Yehudit faction's annual sukkot meeting, held at Rabbi Uri Sherky's Jerusalem home.

"The goal is to lead the Nation of Israel and quickly – we do not have time," said Feiglin. "And we have nobody to blame. Understand this...I have no complaint toward Netanyahu. I hold the man in esteem. I respect the man. I know that from his consciousness and his conceptual world, he cannot reach any other solution and he will not reach any other solution. And the catastrophe will come. It is on its way.”

"And I have no right to complain against him. Only against myself. Because I have not brought myself to the point in which I can replace him.”

Summing up his speech to his supporters, he said: "I want to wish us two things. First of all, just as we have made headway on the Temple Mount until now, let us wish ourselves that on Pesach, six months from now, we will say – 'Wow! A Pesach sacrifice is being sacrificed on the Temple Mount.”

"And the second thing that I want to wish upon all of us is that with the help of G-d, next year, we will not sit in... and I am saying this completely seriously... we will sit in the sukkah of the prime minister.”

Rookie MK Feiglin is widely recognized as a brilliant intellectual with highly original thoughts on numerous issues, including a libertarian philosophy that appeals to many non-religious people. His loyal Jewish Leadership faction within Likud has done much to shape the party's list of MKs over the years. On the other hand, he is portrayed by opponents as a dangerous religious fanatic who needlessly stirs up trouble by insisting on his right to tour the Temple Mount – a right that was taken away from him by government orders.

While Feiglin's high profile visits to the Mount, including an attempt to enter the Dome of the Rock itself, raised ire even among die-hard supporters of Jewish rights on the Mount, many admitted that the moves succeeded in making the Mount a focus of national attention and spurred many more Jews to begin to insist on their right to ascend it.

The Temple Mount is the site of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the last of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, and is Judaism's holiest place.

Yet despite that fact, Jews are banned from carrying out any forms of religious worship on the Mount, for fear of offending Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa Islamic complex which today sits upon the ruins of the Temples. 

Muslim extremists regularly incite against Jewish visitors to the Mount, and Jewish visitors sometimes face harassment and physical attacks at the hands of Muslim worshippers.

There is, however, an added layer of controversy to such visits: a number of Orthodox rabbis oppose Jewish ascents to the Mount, citing concerns over the laws of ritual purity which are especially stringent on the Temple Mount and which, they say, could be violated by uneducated Jewish visitors. Treading on certain areas according to Jewish law can incur the punishment of kareit, loosely translated as "spiritual excommunication."