The Future of ZEHUT
Since I never know how long people stay focused or even how many words in an article they read, let me quickly get to the conclusion: Zehut is alive and well and will stay very active in continuing what was started. Moshe Feiglin is not looking for a new job and Zehut material is not being sent to a museum. In a few words let me summarize by simply saying that Zehut was knocked down… but not knocked out.
As you may know, I am one of the founders of Zehut so allow me to let you in on a secret; when we started the movement we had – and still have – three goals:
To spread the ideology and vision of Zehut - throughout Israel - from outside the Knesset
To implement changes in Israeli society, based on the Zehut ideology, from inside the Knesset
To educate Jews worldwide about our vision, get them to embrace it and come home to Eretz Yisrael
The political campaign was a hard fought battle and yes, we put everything we had into it, but you must understand that, while very important, getting into the Knesset was just one of our three goals. There’s no question that once in the Knesset, achieving our other two goals will be much easier – which is why we gave it our best shot – but it doesn’t mean that not getting in means we’re finished.
Moshe Feiglin summarized it best: We failed as a political party but we succeeded as an ideological movement. Let’s think about this for a moment. The ideological movement called Zehut began in January 2015. For the last four years we have been educating Jews, in Israel and around the world, about the importance of Jewish identity on a national level. Moshe wrote hundreds of articles and thousands of social media posts about this concept. When elections in Israel became a reality, we took the ideas of our ideological movement – our platform, vision and plan for Israel’s future – and “translated” them into political actions. Although we made some political moves throughout the years, the overwhelming campaign – and everything it included – lasted only five months.
It is true that we worked night and day during most of those five months and when it was over, we failed to reach our goal… but because of that loss, should we abandon what was done the previous four years??? But it’s much more than that. While we did not succeed in getting the votes, we did succeed in getting the attention! This political campaign helped Zehut in countless ways. Thanks to the hard work of the staff and volunteers, every single Israeli today knows about our message of Liberty and Personal Freedom. Millions – yes, millions of people were introduced to our ideas on free market economy, school vouchers, legalization of cannabis, termination of the Oslo Accords and the end of the Israeli Land Authority. The name “Moshe Feiglin” is literally a household word and Moshe has become a real star on the Israeli political scene. Even after our disappointing defeat, the media has been running after him…
So what do we do now??? Simple… we dust ourselves off from the knockdown, figure out what went wrong in the political game, correct those mistakes ASAP and keep going!!! There’s no question that it would have been much easier to move our ideology along had we entered the Knesset but just because we failed in that one area does not mean we shut down the entire operation!
I firmly believe that a large segment of the population loved our ideas… they just weren’t ready to vote for us. Will they be ready to vote Zehut the next time around? I believe “yes” and here’s why: While we definitely made mistakes during our Knesset campaign, what happened to us is exactly what happened to 5 serious Knesset parties; we were all cut in half!
Think about this for a moment:
In the final poll before Election Day, the United Right (Peretz, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir) polled between 9-10 and they ended with 5
The New Right (Bennet and Shaked) polled at 6-7 and ended with 3.5
Zehut polled at 6-7 and also ended with 3.5
The Gesher Party (led by Orli Levy) polled at 4 and ended with 2
And on the Left, Meretz polled at 6-7 and ended with 4
What happened to all these parties; Right and Left, was one common denominator. While the Israeli voter planned on voting for a smaller party, in the end they went to one of the 2 big parties; either Likud (Netanyahu) or Blue and White (Gantz/Lapid). And now comes the important note; the only parties that actually did pass the threshold were ones that had a core base of support. This is why Lieberman passed the minimum and why Smotrich, Shas, Agudah, Kachlon and Meretz passed as well. All of them – every single one – had a core base of supporters; either Russians, or Religious Zionists, or Haredim or extreme leftists. The ones that did not have a core base of supporters; Bennet, Levy and Feiglin did not pass. The only difference in that final group is that 2 of them – Bennet and Levy – are gone forever while Feiglin is not.
Based on this analysis, the goal for us is very clear; turn the 120,000 people who voted Zehut into a core base of support. Please remember that when the first polls came out, Bennet/Shaked were polling at 12 and Orli Levy was polling between 8-10. Zehut? The first polls had us at 0.4… remember those days? They were just 90 days before elections and we managed to turn things around in an incredible way. I will state, once again, that we definitely made mistakes but that’s not the reason why we lost! The final poll of 6-7 was real but half our people went to save Bibi from the big, bad Gantz. A core base of supporters would not have done that. They would have stayed with us, as the Russians stayed with Lieberman, for example. This is our major political task in the coming years.
Having said all that, there is one point left to be made. While we are unquestionably continuing on all fronts; ideologically, politically and internationally there is one mission that we must embark on before anything else; paying our debts to suppliers, vendors, printers, advertisers and workers. In addition to that, we have loans that were cosigned by donors that must – and will be - returned. Before anything else, we are Torah Jews and paying our debts and loans are priority #1. Without revealing the exact amount, allow me say that these debts and loans add up to a very serious amount of money and it will not be easy to raise but, as stated, this is our first task and we will work on nothing else until a clear plan is in place to pay back each and every shekel. (If you are an Israeli citizen, you can donate here - According to Israeli law, this is for Israeli citizens only).
May Hashem help us raise these funds and may He then give us the strength to build our core base of supporters. There’s a lot of work left to do and we are as motivated as ever to finish what we started. Let’s get to work! Am Yisrael Chai!!
(If you are an Israeli citizen, you can donate here - According to Israeli law, this is for Israeli citizens only).