Saturday, December 06, 2008

In this follow-up to my previous post, I will add a few updates regarding the Likud primaries, but mainly I'll discuss Manhigut Yehudit and Moshe Feiglin.

First of all, Netanyahu did manage to get a few rules changed at the last minute for reasons I discussed earlier. Voters will choose 12 (rather than 10) candidates from the national list. In addition, voters choose two olim separately. Finally, voters choose a single regional candidate (no change there).

I mostly stand by what I said earlier. However, given the expanded national list and the fact that two women will get high spots regardless, I'm inclined to include two women on the ballot. Certainly, the best candidates among the women are Tzipi Hotobeli and Leah Ness. These candidates are far superior to Limor Livnat, Gila Gamliel and Miri Regev.

I am now more positive about Moshe Kahlon, Gilad Erdan and Yechiel Leiter than was expressed earlier.

Another very worthy newcomer I failed to mention earlier is Moshe Muskal.

Since you need to choose two oleh candidates, I support both Asya Entov and Ariel Bolshtein.

Finally, as a result of another rule change, Ayoub Kara is a shoo-in, so I wouldn't waste a vote on him.

In short, my list currently looks like this: (Updated Sunday Dec. 7, 9:00 PM)

(After Jeffrey's persuasive arguments (see comments below), I have added Zev Jabotinsky. I have removed Yechiel Leiter (nobody seems willing to stand up for him) and, with great reluctance, I've removed Michi Ratzon, who is a good guy. I have stuck with the dark horse, Moshe Muskal, who led the revolt of bereaved parents against Olmert following the Lebanon fiasco, for emotional reasons. My list and that of My Obiter Dicta are now identical except that he prefers Ratzon to Feiglin, for reasons I myself explain below. I suspect that when he's finished, Jameel's list will also be fairly similar.)

For my region (Yosh), I'll vote for Yossi Fuchs. For olim, Entov and Bolshtein.

Note that I am voting for Feiglin. I'll use the rest of this post to explain as objectively as I can exactly what is good and bad about Manhigut Yehudit.

On the positive side, Feiglin simply has a better grasp of the core issues in Israeli politics than any of the other candidates. He understands that our problems are systemic and will not be repaired without systemic reform. He understands that our problems are rooted in a crisis of identity among the elites who have a stranglehold on the country (as a result of the systemic problems). And, finally, he understands that these problems will not be addressed until religious and/or right-wing Israelis join mainstream parties.

I also don't buy the spin that he will cost the Likud votes, although I agree that if the spin were true, it should be a very important factor in deciding whether to vote for him.

My problem with Feiglin has to do with Manhigut Yehudit's tactics. (More specifically, I mean Michael Fuah's tactics, since he runs the tactical end of MY completely on his own. For the most part, even Feiglin doesn't have a clue what Fuah is up to.) Fuah has made a series of idiotic moves that can only be understood if you first understand that for him getting Feiglin into the Knesset (and beyond) is not a means to achieving certain worthy ends but rather an end in itself -- in fact, the only end.

As a result, when faced with a choice between advancing Feiglin's career or advancing MY's ostensible substantive objectives, Fuah will always choose the former. Concretely, what this means is that politicians of dubious repute and conviction who are willing to make deals with MY (and it's no surprise that such people are willing to make deals; that's what they live for) will always get MY's support while those who share pretty much all of MY's objectives except the coronation of Moshe Feiglin will always get shafted. Just to give you the flavor, MY supported Olmert in 2003, without which support he would not have gotten into the Knesset. MY massively supported Haim Katz in 2003 in exchange for which he betrayed them, so (like the Woody Allen character who fell into the orchestra pit at a show and repeated the performance the next thirty nights so as not let on it was an accident) they did it again in 2006. In 2006, MY supported a slew of stinkers but gave almost no support to Uzi Landau and Yuli Edelstein.

In 2008, MY is supporting Gila Gamliel (who sold her vote to Sharon for a Deputy Ministry, promotes socialist economic policies and hasn't got any brains or principles to speak of). In the municipal elections in Beit Shemesh, MY supported Daniel Vaknin, who is not only incompetent and corrupt but an enthusiastic hitnatkut supporter. They are following this up by supporting his deputy, Cathy Sheetreet, for the Jerusalem slot (against Fred Moncharsh, who has been one of MY's most loyal and active supporters since the beginning). MY had also negotiated deals to support two of the most odious candidates running in the regional primaries, Carmel Shama (Gush Dan) and Even Tzur (North), but it appears that the threat of revolt has forced Fuah to back down on those. Do NOT vote for any of these candidates, even if MY asks you to.

Moreover, not all of MY's lunacy takes place during election season. During Sharon's nasty reign, Uzi Landau attempted to unify the opposition. But, as a result of some dubious deals designed to advance Feiglin, MY aligned with Yisrael Katz's camp instead. This lead to all sorts of mischief. For example, on August 18, 2004, Sharon tried to bring Labor into his coalition for the purpose of advancing the hitnatkut and needed the approval of the Likud Central Committee. A watered down (but just as pernicious) version of the proposal was opposed by Landau's camp but supported by Katz's camp. Incredibly, Fuah initially announced support for this proposal on the 5:00 PM news. Only under pressure, did MY finally oppose the proposal, which lost by 12 votes (765 - 753). (This was Sharon's first attempt; in December, he did succeed in bringing Labor into his coalition.)

In short, there are good reasons to support Feiglin, but by all means ignore any guidance MY gives regarding other candidates.


Anonymous zalman said...

So I guess you are saying that Feiglin is a...politician?
(I'll grant you that may be less acceptable in Feiglin's case because he is being perceived by his followers as purer and nobler than his fellow politicians.)

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think EY trumps Judicial prudence, especially since those will get in anyway, so I cut Steinitz and Eitan from my list.

"Will get in without me" obviously makes me cut Yaalon as well.

My list doesn't have Muskal because he has little chance imho and Kahlon because.. I didn't have enough room for him. I guess he's a bibi-yesman too. But both make my plan-b list.

So who are my other 4?
I think Gamliel is better than Livnat and Rosenbloom, who (with Ness) she is running against for the Veteran Women slot

Sagiv Asulin is a good Young slotter; I don't know the others, so I'd rather see him there.

Osnat Mark I know from Maale Adumim; I like her better for the New Woman slot (besides Hotebeli's) than Miri Regev.

And I am daring to waste a vote on Ayoub (b/c he will definitely get in, but I love him!)

I think Anglos should vote for Sackett, unless you are squarely in the anti-Feiglin camp.

I also like Gidon Saar, who Gilad Erdan eked off my list.

Is Muskal a Bibi-chuter?
Does anyone have a list of the 23(!?) that Jpost says he brought in?


3:09 AM  
Anonymous Y. Ben-David said...

I think you will all be interested to know that Yoel Marcus in last Friday's Ha'aretz pretty much came out and endorsed Netanyahu. He says he is very impressed with all the Leftists Bibi has recruited for the Likud, even Benny Begin isn't so bad, and he is sure that Bibi has learned his lesson just as Sharon.

Regarding Sackett, I had a short conversation with him some years ago. He told me that they want to reform the Education system in Israel. I said that the secular system has very strong entrenched forces that identify with the post-Zionist Left (Amnon Lord wrote once in Makor Rishon that MAPAM gave its young people the motivation for the young people coming out of their movement go become teaches so they can brainwash Israel's young people). This Establishment stymied all the attempts by the MAFDAL Education ministers to try to slow the deterioration of the education system and its drift towards post-Zionist ideology. After pointing all this out to Sackett I asked how they were going to get around this major problem. His answer: "we'll force them". End of conversation.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Ben Chorin is making a serious mistake in endorsing Feiglin. Feiglin, in his political behavior, has completely joined the culture that you say he understands is the country's "problem." So what if he says and writes the right things? That he understands religious politicians must move into the mainstream? So do lots of savvy people in our camp. You're missing an important point: Lots of politicians have understood that changes of both political culture and policy are necessary, but have failed to bring them about because, once they got near the top, they made too many compromises with the political culture to go farther except by embracing the culture entirely. Which means they can succeed as individuals but utterly fail as agents of change.

Feiglin's career would be exactly parallel to Tzahi Hanegbi's if he had Hanegbi's political smarts.

Michael Fuah is Feiglin’s Rasputin. On political matters Feiglin is intellectually lazy. Fuah’s political advice dominates Feiglin; in fact Manhigut effectively has become Fuah’s movement, with Feiglin as serving as a front. The only way to free Feiglin of Fuah’s influence would be to poison Fuah, shoot him, and dump his body into the River Neva—which G-d forbid, of course. But elect Feiglin and Sackett to the Knesset and you infallibly will get Fuah’s politics. Asya Entov and Boaz Haetzni are less under Fuah’s spell.

Behind your post is the hidden assumption that, just because he has made it into the Knesset, Feiglin’s perspective will change and he will begin to respond to the demands of political principle rather than political expediency. That’s very naïve. On the contrary; the yetzer hara to get into the cabinet and Prime Minister’s office will pull on Feiglin and Fuah more strongly than ever.

Feiglin-watchers note that the one thing he—or rather Fuah—now hungers for more than anything else is to be legitimized by Netanyahu. My great fear is that if Netanyahu brings in some squalid deal with the Palestinians or the Syrians, Feiglin will be the first one to present himself outside Bibi’s office, willing to sell his people’s votes for legitimation and a cabinet post. It’s consistent with all his behavior up till now.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Ben said...


Thanks for the important comment. I hope people will read it and take it seriously.

10:58 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Without giving away my thinking, okay, I won't be voting for Feiglin, I'd like to make one solid contribution: his name is Pu'ah. Not Fuah. I know your spelling is closer to fooey but, it's a Pey d'gusha. He was the one during Oslo who took off from work and showed up outisde Rabin's PM office with a toy rifle attached to his shoulders but pointing at his chest.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Yehiel Leiter is one of the few candidates in the Likud primaries who has openly stated he intends to evacuate settlements. Annexing 50% first is just Bibi code speak for evacuating 50% unilaterally first.

Benny Begin doesn't state this as openly. In his B'Sheva interview he stated that there is a now a consensus that the IDf and the GSS must be present in Yo'sh. I stress that this statement did NOT contain the word settlements and/or residents. Basically he also intends to support a plan to evacuate the settlements unilaterally while leaving the army in place until such time as an agreement can be signed. He also stated that he is willing to give up the Golan.
I hope all of the people in the right-wing camp wake up during the next two months - before it is too late

12:15 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ben Bayit: I agree with your sentiments on Leiter, %100.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

though i agree with most of the assertions and above all your righteous observations i would ask u to prpose how u would try to make changes within MY to straighten its dent as opposed to being a irrelevant protester for the sake of happiness peace and success for am yisrael!! thank u!!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

I'm sorry to see that you're not endorsing Zev Jabotinsky. Chaqu'un a son gout.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I have nothing against Jabotinsky. I just know nothing about him. Make your pitch here and I'll upgrade the gist to the main body.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jeffrey: ditto for me.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

In response to Ben and Jameel's request:

Zev Jabotinsky is an extremely intelligent, and highly principled person. He is firmly committed to Jewish settlement in in the Land of Israel, and has absolutely no illusions as to the intentions of the Palestinians (and the Arabs, generally).

He has a stunning, and penetrating grasp upon the contemporary geo-political realities that shape our existence in Israel. I have found him to be on the calbre of Yuval Steinitz, in this regard. as opposed to Steinetz, though, he was adamently opposed to the expulsion from Gush Qatif and, as a member of the Likud Central Committee, was part of the active vocal opposition to Ariel Sharon's betrayal.

In this, he is an unmistakeable and worthy heir to his distinguished heritage, as the grandson and namesake of Vladimir Zev Jabotinsky ז"ל. He knows the Left and how to live with them without compromising his principles. As opposed to some so-called 'princes', Zev has not and will not ever go 'native.' He can always be relied upon to loyally, and tirelessly, advance Leumi positions.

He is a forceful, level-headed speaker who knows exactly how to effectively make our case in wider fora, and to debate the avatars of the Left. He posessses the kind of historical awareness that is critical in representing National Zionism in the wider Israeli community.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, knowing Professor B. Netanyahu and the kind of reverence that Bibi has for the memory of the Rosh Beitar, Having Zev on the Knesset List will, in my opinion, help keep our next Prime Minister (P-G), ideologically hones.

That is why I urge every member of Likud to include him in the list of twelve candidates on the National List.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Shlomo W said...

I think you guys are being to harsh on Michal Fua and Menhigut Yehudit. No they are not Perfect, they Regret supporting Olmert. But they have a Jewish vision for the fututre of Israel. It's getting to the lead position that is not simple. Yes deals have to be made, but they have never made a deal or agreed to go against their ideology. They are NOT looking for Bibis approval as someone has suggested, I know for a fact that Feiglin turned down an offer Bibi gave him in the past, since it would compromise his ideology and would be a sell out. The only deals they make are exchange deals to have people support Moshe in return for MY support. It's not perfect the candidates they make deals with are not always the BEST people, but they are usually people in the Likud party and since they are trying to lead the country by leading the Likud, people in Likud their own party come before others even if they like the others better. Moshe Openly welcomed Effi Etam to join Likud so they can work TOGETHER in the Likud. It was Bibi who turned down Eitam. Give MY some slack, and give them your vote, then you can approach them as MK's and voice your opinions, they are willing to listen. Thanks

12:08 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Ze'ev Jabotinsky has no political movement behind him. He's writtena few articles. He's lucky if he places in the top 50.

Bibi has made it clear that the order of placement will have no bearing on the selection of Likud ministers. Since you mention the Landau opposition, this is why your whole concept of influencing from within is doomed to failure. When Landau led the internal Likud opposition he had one third of the Likud MK's behind him. But he had only one minister around the table - himself. Sharon only had to fire two ministers (Elon and Lieberman) to get his way. Had Landau broken off then and forced Sharon to either recognize his faction and grant him 3-4 ministers (similar to what Shas had) he would have had that much more influence. or at lest would have forced Sharon to call elections. So even if you end up with 15-20 "right-wing" likud members, and the likud has 35-40 seats, very few of these "right-wing" MK's will be made ministers by Bibi and you will have little or no influence on Bibi's policies as long as they stay as part of the Likud.
(Feiglin and his 1-2 MY lackeys that might end up as MK's will be pushed out of the Likud at the first opportunity - Bibi will force a vote on an issue of principle on which Feiglin will HAVE to vote against the Likud in the Knesset - or sell himself down the river thus eradicating in an instant his whole support base - and then Bibi will have the party institutions convene to throw them out of the party - leaving Feiglin holding what he said he would never want to be - the cards in a meaningless small right-wing faction).

I also have no doubt that Bibi will push Begin out pretty quickly. it's inevitable.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shlomo: e, but they have never made a deal or agreed to go against their ideology

Really? Why did they support Olmert in 2003 instead of Uzi Landau?

11:19 AM  

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