Excerpts from Moshe Feiglin on Facebook Live: 18 Tamuz, 5777/July 12 '17
Focus on Politics
A senior media personality asked me what I have to say about the election of Avi Gabai to head the Labor party. “Now it is clear to me that I can be prime minister,” I answered. Today, the candidates who come from outside the system win. A month and a half ago, Avi Gabai was a dreary candidate. We can say that charisma is not his strong point. His major strong point was that he was an outsider. I was certain that he would win the runoff against Peretz and I will tell you why: Avi Gabai was elected by the Labor party voters to hide his party. He is the candidate most like a rightist. Perhaps he is the most similar to Kachlon. He has not yet projected the image that most Israelis reject – to put it mildly. Labor wants to win. They want to masquerade as something that is not the same old elitist, arrogant, Ashkenazic Left that is disconnected from its identity.
Ultimately, Israeli politics suffers from lack of vision. After all, what is the difference between Avi Gabai, Binyamin Netanyahu and even Naftali Bennett? All of them propose the same diplomatic solution. Nobody can tell you what the difference is between Gabai’s two-state-solution, or Netanyahu’s or Bennett’s – certainly not Lapid’s, Livni’s or others. My guess is that everything will soon revert to the old and familiar party lines. Unless, the investigations against Netanyahu force him to resign, at which point the entire political reality will be up in the air. Today’s political reality certainly invites surprises and change. And here we have the proof: A person can come in from outside and in the right constellation – win.
The Zehut party is preparing itself for precisely this moment. Not with a new name but with new ideas. Besides restoring honesty and integrity to the political arena, out main novelty is in the fact that we are bringing Israel back from personality-based politics to idea-based politics. The more organized and prepared we are, the more we will be able to take advantage of the new political reality.
I am truly excited about Zehut’s list of candidates, who will be running in the Zehut primaries. This is a totally authentic list of people. Nobody tried to fashion the list in any way. We have 27 candidates: 19 men, 6 women, 12 men who wear kippot, 15 who don’t. There is one ultra-Orthodox candidate, which I feel is a bit of a failure of the ‘marketplace’, because there are many ultra-Orthodox members of Zehut. There are 5 people who came to Zehut as liberals, 4 settlers, 4 young people under 35 years of age, and four who will be running within the framework of Zehut International.
As a person who sat in the Knesset and was very friendly with the majority of the MKs, I can tell you that Zehut’s list of candidates is better than all of them in terms of the quality of the people. In addition, these people are running on ideology. There are no opportunists in the group. These are people who have years of experience in their various fields. Their common denominator is that they are coming to work for the ideas of Zehut. It is a great team.
Do we have celebrities, journalists or generals on our list? The list that we have is like the bread. The famous people are like the thin layer of butter on the bread. We have spoken to a number of people who could be placed in the slots left for the discretion of the Chairman of Zehut, but the bottom line is that no well-known public figure is going to declare his candidacy for Zehut two years before the official election date. Furthermore, celebrities are not all that important. Who knew who Avi Gabai was until just a short while ago? At least 90% of the MKs are people who were not well-known until they entered the Knesset. The people on Zehut’s list will do a great job.
The next stage is the Zehut primaries in two months from now, in which 15 of these candidates will be elected by the Zehut members. In the following stage, those 15 will be ranked by the entire public in open primaries 30 days before the general elections. This will ensure that not only will our list authentically represent the general public, but it will actually represent the will and priorities of Israel’s voting public. This is sure to draw public interest and will be an important part of Zehut’s election campaign.
According to a recent poll, Zehut will not get enough votes to enter the Knesset. What makes you think otherwise?
Shimon Peres once said that polls are like perfume. It is fine to smell them, but do not drink them. A year ago we did a poll with Ma’agar Mochot, a very reputable polling company, which showed that we would win 12 mandates in the general elections and if there was no danger of not passing the election threshold, the poll predicted 15 mandates for Zehut. Another poll that was done later showed us on the border of the election threshold, with only 4 mandates. What does that mean? That on a good day, we have 15 mandates and that on a bad day, we are in danger. We have to work hard. In truth though, both polls show great potential for Zehut. In the poll in which we received only 4 mandates, the people did not know what the Zehut party was and that it is identified with Feiglin.
What is truly important to us is to take advantage of the time that we have – and it looks like we have time – to get the Israeli public to know us. When they know us, our current potential is 15 mandates. And so, we have to work hard and not let up.
All the polls show the same segmentation. Zehut voters are young, over half do not define themselves as religious, they are educated. Polls are the last thing that has ever motivated us. We present the Israeli public with our truth and ideology and they can choose to vote for something that is truly new – a real horizon, vision, destiny and identity.
Finally, if Trump had listened to the polls, he would not have run. The same is true of Gabai. And there are many others.
What would be your conditions for joining a Labor coalition?
We have a strategic goal and a tactical goal. The strategic goal is to lead Israel. Zehut is a governing party in terms of its DNA. Of course, we are just beginning and we don’t know how many election cycles it will take. If there will be a miracle, it can happen in one election. If not, it could take two or three election cycles.
Our tactical goal is to advance our ideas on the way to leading Israel. One of those ideas is to stand up for the right for every Israeli who has no criminal record to bear arms. The right to bear arms is a human right, not a right that the State should control. That is just an example of the human rights that Zehut seeks to promote. Another example is the voucher method for education. We will persevere and do everything in our power to get the voucher method into the Israeli educational system. Another issue is privatization of government-owned land in Israel. This will truly lower the price of housing in Israel, unlike the market manipulations that the Finance Minister is currently implementing, which will never lower housing costs. Another human rights issue is legalization of cannabis. Declaration of sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands is another. These and more are issues that we will strive to promote on our way to leadership of Israel.
The strength of a political party – even if it is small or medium sized –that knows what it wants and has a clear ideology is very great. This is on the condition that it is not in the pocket of any Knesset bloc and that it is not playing a zero sum game. Zehut does not belong to any Knesset bloc. As far as I am concerned, the only difference between Labor’s Avi Gabai and Binyamin Netanyahu is that Avi Gabai has not yet destroyed any settlement; he has not yet frozen any construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria; he has not given up almost all the control on the Temple Mount to Jordan and he didn’t vote in favor of the Expulsion from Gush Katif. That is all. Zehut will join a coalition as per the interests that it wishes to promote. Everybody is suitable or unsuitable for partnership according to the parameters that we will determine.
It really makes no difference to us if we are slapped in the face with the right hand or the left. It doesn’t bother the Right that it destroyed Amona. Who even remembers that three months ago it destroyed an entire Jewish village? All that is important to the Right is that it should be the bloc destroying Jewish towns, and not the Left. The purpose of the Right today is to see who can poke his finger deeper into the eye of the Left. We are not in that space. Zehut has a detailed platform and does not build itself upon hatred and divisiveness.
Elections seem to be in the air and the political parties are making preparations. Isn’t Zehut a bit late, if we consider that it is not included in the polls?
First of all, the polls are taking into account only those parties already in the Knesset. Second of all, this quiet time is very good for us. We are working in an orderly and very thorough manner to create a serious political party based on our principles and ideas. Let everyone else busy themselves with polls and we will quietly build the surprise of the next elections, with G-D’s help.