Feiglin’s New Party Seeks to Pick Off Former Likud Voters

YERUSHALAYIM -
Moshe Feiglin seen announcing his departure from Likud at a gathering of his supporters on January 5, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Moshe Feiglin seen announcing his departure from Likud at a gathering of his supporters on January 5, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party slumps in the polls, former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s new party Zehut hopes to capture some of the incumbent’s disaffected supporters.

“The more disappointment there is with the Likud, the better we will do in the next election, because there will be tens of thousands of Likud voters who are looking for a new nationalist, nonreligious party to be their new political home,” Feiglin told The Jerusalem Post this week.

Recent opinion samplings indicate that if elections were held today, former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would overtake Likud as the biggest party in the country.

While Feiglin himself belongs to the national-religious camp, his new party seeks a broader constituency, and private polling data suggests that most Zehut supporters will be nonreligious Zionists.

“Zehut can take the votes of Likud voters away from Yesh Atid. We talk about distancing religion and state as much as possible, and many of our top activists are atheists.” Feiglin was quoted as saying.

A Ma’agar Mohot poll of 500 respondents commissioned by Zehut found that it could win 12 seats, deriving its support mostly from right-wing and centrist voters.

Forty-five percent identified themselves as traditional, 26 percent as secular, 18 percent as religious Zionist and 11 percent as chareidi. Some 37 percent said they voted for Likud and 26 percent for Jewish Home in the last election, 10 percent voted for Zionist Camp and 10 percent for Kulanu.

In explaining Zehut’s potentially broad electoral appeal, Feiglin said: “The combination of personal freedom and Israeli sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean gives different groups of people what they want.”