Moshe Feiglin, the former Likud MK who left the party after he failed to achieve a “realistic” position in the Likud’s 2014 Knesset list, is back – this time with a party of his own. Over 1,000 people gathered in Jerusalem Tuesday night to inaugurate the Zehut (Identity) Party, which Feiglin plans to run in the next Knesset elections, currently scheduled for 2018.
The Zehut platform is similar to that of his previous Manhigut Yehudit faction’s positions, when that group was one of the largest factions in the Likud. Zehut advocates annexing all of Yehudah and Shomron, with incentives for Arabs to emigrate. Those who wish to remain in Israel will have to demonstrate loyalty to the state, meeting conditions which have yet to be specified. Speaking at the Tuesday event, Feiglin said that “we intend to end the occupation and open the state to all Israelis for generations to come. We will ensure the civil rights of all people, including non-Jews, and we will offer various options to the Arabs of Yehudah and Shomron.”
The party’s domestic agenda advocates much more personal freedom, and much less government intervention in the daily lives of Israelis. For example, Zehut advocates instituting a voucher system, under which parents can send their children to the school of their choice, with tuition covered by the state, as an alternative to centralized public education. Housing prices would be reduced by the reduction of involvement by quasi-government agencies, such as the Israel Lands Administration, the nominal “owner” of over 90 percent of the land in Israel. Feiglin, an observant Jew, also advocates reducing the role of the Chief Rabbinate in the life of the state, for example, privatizing hashgachah along the lines of the various badatzim as opposed to having the Rabbinate involved in hashgachah. He would also promote turning the IDF into a volunteer army, eventually eliminating the draft.
Speaking at the event, Feiglin said that the State Comptroller’s Report on Operation Protective Edge, released earlier in the day, indicated that a real change was needed. “The basic fact that the report shows is that the government sent our soldiers to fight in the alleyways of Gaza not to win. The government feared the collapse of Hamas, and did not really seek to beat them, instead engineering a stalemate. Unfortunately, this only means that we will have to send our sons back to those same alleyways.”