Moshe Feiglin Seeks To Keep Bibi Right

Little-Known Insider Keeps Likud From Moving to Center

Man Behind the Curtain: Moshe Feiglin is not well known. But he is sometimes lampooned as the man who makes decisions for Israel’s ruling Likud party.
getty images
Man Behind the Curtain: Moshe Feiglin is not well known. But he is sometimes lampooned as the man who makes decisions for Israel’s ruling Likud party.

By Nathan Jeffay

Published August 05, 2012, issue of August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Currently, according to Knesset insiders, between five and 10 of Likud’s 27 lawmakers work or strategize with Feiglin. And his strength is thought to have influenced Netanyahu’s reluctance to give the green light to the evacuation of the illegal outposts Beit El and Migron, which he eventually ordered for this summer, but only under the pressure of a Supreme Court ruling. Feiglin’s influence was also seen in Netanyahu’s decision to approve large new building projects in the settlements.

But Feiglin’s ambitions go far beyond preventing settlement freezes. He wants to change entirely the way that his party and his country make decisions and present themselves to the world.

Among other things, Feiglin wants to completely end foreign aid to Israel. Accepting it, he says, leaves Israel beholden to other countries, especially America, and constitutes an “immoral act.” He believes that if Israel uses Jewish heritage rather than democratic values to determine and justify its policy in the West Bank and Gaza, the world will accept it. He also advocates encouraging the Palestinians in the West Bank, as well as the Arabs who are citizens of Israel, to emigrate, using financial inducements. He doesn’t propose revoking citizenship of Israeli Arabs, but says that only Jews should be eligible to receive Israeli citizenship in the future.

“What counts is where we stand ourselves,” he said. “The world knows exactly what Israel is about, what it represents and what it’s supposed to represent. What we are running away from is what we represent when we’re saying, ‘I’m not a Jew, I’m a liberal, I’m just another Anglo-European-American country, a Hebrew liberal whatever.’”

During its four decades of existence, the Likud party, inspired by the right-wing ideology of Zionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky, has promoted settlements and has often been seen as hard-line and even ethnocentric. But it has never been theocentric.

Feiglin is changing that. “If you don’t believe in God there is no reality,” he said. And for him, the political importance of this is clear. “The basic belief of the left is, there is no God and therefore there is no truth.”

Arye Naor, Cabinet secretary to Menachem Begin during the latter’s premiership and an emeritus professor at Ben-Gurion University, where he researched the Israeli right, is unnerved by the influence of this kind of ideology in the Likud. “The theological element and ethnic extremism just isn’t Likud,” he said.

An adviser to Netanyahu, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said, “The prime minister believes strongly that Likud is a national and a liberal political movement, and we believe that there are some members who have joined who are not natural members of this movement.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.