The update is with regard to re-arrangement of slots on the Likud list, which has been accomplished. Moshe Feiglin was 20th on the list, he is now 36th. Other rearrangements were made as well.
Feiglin says he that does not intend to appeal this, and that he anticipated something like this would happen. He has appealed to his supporters to vote Likud so that he can make it to the Knesset. Right now there is a poll that shows Likud securing 36 mandates. He’s on the edge — has the possibility of gaining a seat. Maybe.
Other candidates had their slots changed as well. Michael Ratzon and Ehud Yatom, who had followed Feiglin on the list, were moved down to slots 37 and 38. In a separate appeal, Miri Regev and Keren Barak were moved up from 34 and 40, to 27 and 32, respectively. If it seems pertinent, I’ll follow with more details on this in a later posting.
In consultation last night with a lawyer who works with Likud, I had some of the technicalities involved clarified for me. I will not belabor them unduly here. The situation is complex. Certain slots beyond the first 20, which were all for national candidates, were reserved for certain categories of candidates — immigrants, women, etc. But these slots were fall-back positions to be used only if needed. In the case of women, three women — Limor Livnat, Tzipi Hotovely and Gila Gamliel — ran on the national ticket and achieved seats at even higher slots independent of those slots for women, which were then not needed. It was a question of who properly should fill those slots, which had been voided for women. After the primary, it was national candidates who filled those slots and the claim was that district candidates should be in those places. I was told that there is precedent for this — it happened two elections ago and Ehud Olmert was at that point bumped down.
Last night it was being said in certain quarters that this was not a vendetta against Feiglin, but merely an adjustment of a technical nature. I didn’t believe it then. Yes, technicalities were involved — I was convinced of this — but I saw those technicalities as being employed in the service of a political end.
Now a statement by Netanyahu provided for the Post confirms my original perception. Said he:
“I am the Likud’s leader, and the MKs understand that I set the policies. All of the MKs except maybe one will follow my commitment to achieving peace and security with reciprocity.
“I will pursue this from a large Likud in a broad national-unity government, which is important for the challenges that lie ahead require the most experienced leadership, which I intend to provide.”
With this he has come off as a “strong arm” head of party who is at odds with a number of the people on his list. This echoes painfully from situations in the past — most notably when Sharon was intent on doing the “disengagement,” and proceeded even though a Likud referendum, which he had pledged to respected, indicated the party was opposed.
Netanyahu has also reinforced the public imagine of himself as a slippery politico who cannot be trusted. And he has raised serious questions as to his intent.
This is terribly sad. Especially as there are so many good people on that Likud list.
I will simply state the obvious here: that there is a power struggle going on between Netanyahu and Feiglin for control of the party. There are various maneuvers pulled, it should be noted, on both sides.
And I will make a personal observation that will startle some of my readers, who know well my political orientation: While I think democratic process is exceedingly important, and I frown on the sort of game playing that Netanyahu has indulged in, I would not vote for a Likud that was headed by Moshe Feiglin. He has something to contribute with his religious, nationalistic perspective, but I do not see him — the name of his faction, “Jewish Leadership,” not withstanding — as potentially a strong and competent leader. Some of his statements and actions over the years have been troubling for me.
And so I will say in Netanyahu’s defense — which is not to excuse his tactics now — that he undoubtedly perceives Feiglin as a force destructive to a strong Likud. An associate of Netanyahu’s was quoted by YNet as saying, “Now Bibi can sleep soundly, the Likud has a much better roster.”
I will make one other important observation here: Netanyahu’s comments about “achieving peace” and his statements regarding his readiness to continue negotiations with the PA are most unsettling to those of us who perceive the PA as no “partner for peace” at all.
But this position he is espousing is designed to draw in the center of the country and pull votes from Kadima. How he will actually play matters is something of an unknown, and may be very different from what seems to be the case. Note that he says he wants to achieve peace with “security and reciprocity.”
These are his outs to really negotiating. Security alone requires us to retain large parts of Judea and Samaria (no, he doesn’t address our right to retain these areas from the perspective of Jewish heritage, as does Feiglin). This alone guarantees a failure at the negotiating table, as the PA wants all of Judea and Samaria. And if there is insistence on true reciprocity, which the PA never provides, this gives reason to freeze negotiations. There are solid political analysts convinced that negotiations with Netanyahu would not lead to anything.
But then again, Netanyahu has a reputation for caving to the US (which will be led by an Obama intent on “two states”). Which is where the strong right wing within his party becomes important in providing backbone.
The day is short, and Shabbat comes early. After Shabbat there will be time for further information and analysis.