Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Why I Am Canceling My Likud Membership

20 of the Tenth Month 5770
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon ztz"l: 805th Anniversary of his Death

Well, I was going to write an extensive post on why I am canceling my Likud membership, until I realized that I didn't have to. The Jewish Fist already covered the points I wanted to make in On Feglinites Part I and Part II.

Almost 10 years ago, I was convinced to join the Likud by a couple of activists whom I trusted. (I still trust them; I just don't agree with them on absolutely everything.) They stationed themselves in front of the miqwah, Erev Shabbath, a clever strategy.

The goal was to overwhelm the Likud Party with supporters of Moshe Feiglin, who would vote him onto the party's list of candidates in the primaries. If he was voted high enough on the list, it would be a cinch for him to enter the K'nesseth. The idea was that by being an MK in a major political party, more influence, publicity, and resources would be at his disposal than by being the member of a minor party.

By flooding the Likud Party with his supporters, the other Likud MK's would have no choice but to negotiate with him, and align with him on some issues. Feiglin's power base would also embolden those MK's already inclined to be supportive of the settlements and hard on the Arabs to remain as such, instead of arbitrarily voting according to whichever view would keep their seats safe.

Meanwhile, those in the National Religious Party [NRP] were none too happy with Feiglin. After laughing at all of us who joined the Likud Party did not work, they starting crying foul at the top of their lungs. They simply did not understand how and why ALL religious Zionists could not see that the NRP was the only party for them. Left-wing Meimad had broken off from the NRP, right-wing Tequmah had broken off from the NRP, and religious Zionist Rabbi Benny Elon was on his way to lead the Moledet Party. Yet, they were, and still are, blind and clueless.

I, too, could not stand (nor understand) where the NRP was going. The strategy of Moshe Feiglin's “Manhigut Yehudit” (Jewish Leadership) faction made a hell of a lot more sense than the NRP's repetition of the same mistakes over again, expecting different results. At least it did at the time. Finally, someone had the hutzpah to try something new,...sort of. I was sold!

Well, it has been 10 years. Thousands of supporters have joined the Likud Party, and Feiglin is still not in the K'nesseth. The first snag was his “criminal” record. The next snags came directly from Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, one after the other. Last year Feiglin's success in the Likud primaries was easily dashed to the ground by Bibi's very own brand of sneakiness.

Working from within does not work. (Working from within a minor party does not work either.) The Israeli government has proven that time and time again. When anyone starts moving into a position with the potential to threaten the powers that be, even while playing by the government's own rules, the government (eg. K'nesseth, Israeli Supreme Court, Party Leaders, etc.) simply changes the rules.

The same thing happened to Rabbi Me'ir Kahane hy”d. His Ka”ch Party was expected to win 14 K'nesseth seats in the 1988 elections. Enter MK Ge'ulah Cohen (Tehiyah) and others from the so-called “right” to take him down. Did they really think he was “racist,” or were they just protecting their own precious K'nesseth seats? You be the judge.

If and when Feiglin ever does gain the upper hand within the Likud power structure, and changing the rules is not enough, Bibi and his pals will just get up and leave, form their own party, call it “The New Likud Party,” and leave Feiglin holding the bag. I mean that literally, too. Once Bibi's out, and Feiglin is the Likud Party chief, I guarantee you that any number of “surprise” bills will start popping up. Friends of Bibi, Limor Livnat, Danny Danon, and others, who were previously willing to forgive food, party favors, rental space, and more will suddenly “find” those billing orders, thought to be lost. (This is just speculation, of course.)

If they don't stick him with the proverbial bag, they will definitely stick him with something else.

Hasn't Feiglin figured that out, yet?

Let us not forget the Likud Party's increasing chumminess with Christians.

First, there is MK Danny Danon's plan to help Christians make “aliyah,” exposed by The Key To Redemption Blog. Sagiv Asulin was already called on his funny business with the Christians, last year before the Likud primaries, resulting in his supposed teshuvah (penance). Well, I don't see him doing anything to stop anyone else from falling into this same tricky trap set by Esau (The West/Christians).

Likud MK's Ayoub Kara, Yuli Edelstein, Gidon Sa'ar, and Gila Gamliel were all participants in the grand opening of the center in Sha'ar Binyamin, just north of Jerusalem. Yep! You got that right,... within the mostly Arab-occupied, Yehudah & Shomron (Judea & Samaria). See the disgusting video for proof, if you must. I have provided screen shots from the video, before it has the chance to "disappear," which often happens to Christian videos featuring Jews.

The so-called left has been siding with Yishma'el (Arabs) and the so-called right has been aligning itself with Esau. When will we ever learn??!!

To Feiglin's credit, he has come out against such interaction and co-operation with Christians. Nonetheless, what the hell is he still doing there??!!

Continuing his “Work from within to facilitate change,” no doubt. (Rabbi Benny Elon said that one already,...ages ago. Remember, Moshe?)

Well, I am sure as hell not stickin' around to find out what happens. I am not THAT curious. Nor, am I interested in having my annual Likud membership dues (60 sheqqels - about $16.00) even buy a Christian couple a shwarmah dinner, and thus violating the negative misswah “Lo Tehonem” (Do not have mercy - on ovdei avodah zarah). The Likud is scheduled to yank out my next “dues” at the end of February, 2010. So, I had better move fast.

Actually, it might be worth losing this year's 60 sheqqels, if I could video tape my attempt to resign my membership at Likud Headquarters, in order to get a closer look at just what kind of wool all Israeli political parties are trying to pull over our eyes.

Who wants to lend me a video camera?


Mikewind Dale (Michael Makovi) said...

The reason I support Feiglin is not so much for his Likud policy. That's the execution, but I don't care as much about the execution. I care about the ideas.

And it's in the ideas that Feiglin is head-and-shoulders above everyone else. The problem with the NRP and Bayit ha-Yehudi, etc., is that they keep billing themselves as the parties for the religious. They keep to sectarian politics, not different in essence from what the Haredim do. Give us our petty little demands, and we'll join your coalition.

By contrast, Feiglin actually aspires to run the country. He says to Labor and Likud: we religious people too have aspirations and national visions. We aren't concerned with only ourselves; we are concerned with the nation and its policies no less than the seculars.

Feiglin is the political equivalent of a Habadnik. He isn't satisfied with having his own little sect off on the side. Instead, he tries to connect with the seculars in any way he can. Thus, he tries to market Jewish education in Israeli public schools as teaching Jewish history and literature like all countries teach their own history and literature. He talks about how Oslo is a security disaster from a purely pragmatic standpoint, and he rewords qedushat ha-aretz as being Jewish historical legacy and heritage to the land of Israel since Biblical times. The point is, Feiglin tries to talk to the seculars on their terms. Feiglin will talk about democracy, real John Locke-ian democracy, and show how Israeli fascism has nothing to do with Alexis de Tocqueville and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He wants to do qiruv, and so the same way that Moshe Rabenu spoke about this-wordly reward and punishment as a carrot for the masses, Feiglin tries to make his vision palatable for the non-religious. He doesn't lie, but he'll frame his message in such a way that even non-religious Zionists who care about Israel will agree with him. He's like Rabbi Haim David Halevi; Rabbi Halevi was a traditional Turkish Judeo-Spanish Sephardi rabbi, and yet Reform rabbis routinely quote him in their shu"tim; why? - because Rabbi Halevi tried his best to make Judaism as easy and approachable as he could, for the sake of bringing the non-religious closer. Even when Rabbi Halevi was too strict for the Reformers, as he often was (Rabbi Halevi kept kashrut and Shabbat!), the Reformers still felt close to him, because they knew he cared about them.

By contrast, NRP and its successors were/are happy with their own sectarian tents. Give us settlements, and we'll let Labor and Likud run the country. You see it in their marketing: they say to people, 'If you're religious, vote for us!'. Feiglin would be appalled at such a statement.

I have a friend that he suggested a compromise solution: let all the Feiglinites and NRPniks together form a new party, but not just any party. Just as Kadima split from Likud to form a party that wanted LEADERSHIP, let Feiglin and NRP join together to make a LEADERSHIP party. Not just another sectarian party, but a party that really aspires to take on Likud toe-to-toe. It's the best of both worlds: it combines Feiglin's universalism and qiruv and anti-sectarianism, with the NRP's not funneling extra votes to Bibi.

But until then, I vote for Feiglin. Not because I support his being in Likud, but because he has no competition. He's the only one talking the way he does, and so I have no choice. That he is in Likud is in execution, but I couldn't care less. I care only about the ideas being executed, and Feiglin has a monopoly on them.

Ben-Shmuel said...

Thanks for posting links to my posts on Feiglin, but I have to hand it to you. You really dissected the issue in a logical and systematic way that is easy to understand. Not an easy task when discussing Israel's kangaroo Knesset.That's why you're #2 on my links list(blogroll), right after Rabbi Kahane's audios. Keep spreading the righteous word.

Unknown said...

It is not necessary for Feiglin to succeed in order to do any good. Just being a pain-in-the ass to Bibi is also helping a little. I am not as pessimistic as you. With each turn of the screw, he gets a bit closer to his goal. It is true that he runs a risk of getting the rug pulled out from underneath him but that is true as to whatever path a true activist takes. I wish him the best but do not rely on him to be the one that will make the real changes we need. Then again, I would not be unhappy if he succeeded.

In the history of the world, no tyranny has ever voluntarily relinquished power or been replaced by peaceful means.

Have a nice day

Aryeh Zelasko
Beit Shemesh

Ariel ben Yochanan said...


The problem with Feiglin is (at least) two-fold. First, I see his message as a more or less correct one, I don't have major problems with his opinion or with his platform. What I have a big problem with is what he does with it: he drains off the best of the precious Jewish nationalistic support and syphons it right back to the heart of the corrupt, un-Jewish, secular system. This is one. Two: as Jews we should be interested in what the Torah wants from us as Jews and not in what we think is the right thing to do under given circumstances. This is called arrogance. My strong opinion therefore is that as knesset is not a Torah institution, a Jew should do everything in his power to distance himself from it and reject it. This implies no part-y membership, of course no candidacy and also, most importantly, a big NO to the vote. Voting Is A Big Jewish Sin. So Please, Swollow Your Ego And Do Not Vote!

Coolio said...

mikewind wrote very well

Mikewind Dale (Michael Makovi) said...

Ariel ben Yochanan: so we should just surrender to the Left? That's what the Ashkenazim in Europe did, and that's why there's so little Jewish influence on Israeli politics in the first place (Eim ha-Banim Semeikha, by Rabbi Teichtal).

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