- Potential Kingmaker in Israel’s Election Offers a Package of Thatcherism Plus Third Temple
by Hagai Amit, https://www.haaretz.com/
Zehut leader Moshe Feiglin and his candidate for finance minister discuss their eclectic platform with TheMarker.
Just as the interview with Moshe Feiglin, leader of the dark-horse Zehut (Hebrew for “identity”) Party, was winding up at a WeWork shared office space in Tel Aviv, none other than Moshe Hogeg showed up. Besides the same first name, the two men have much in common.
Hogeg, a venture capitalist and declared supporter of Feiglin, is regarded as a strange bird in the world of Israeli high-tech, despite backing some well-known startups and raising tens of millions of dollars. Feiglin is regarded as an outlier in Israeli politics, despite a term in the Knesset and two stabs at Likud leadership, including one in which he captured a quarter of the vote.
Despite his outsider reputation, or perhaps because of it, Feiglin’s Zehut Party has emerged as more of a vote-getter ahead of the April 9 election than factions led by more established politicians, such as Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party or Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Gesher.
Indeed, the four Knesset seats that polls show Zehut winning could make it the decisive factor in forming the next government.
Although Zehut is conventionally deemed to be on the right, in an interview with TheMarker, Feiglin forcefully denies that. He also declines to comment on any contracts he might be having either with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud or Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance and hits out at both Kahlon and Avi Nissenkorn, the prospective Blue and White finance minister.
Zehut’s party platform defies then conventional Israeli left-right divide. It does hold some extreme right-wing views. It calls for “ending the occupation and establishing sovereignty throughout our land,” wants to move the seat of government to Jerusalem’s Old City astride the Temple Mount and rebuilt the Temple itself.
As to rebuilding the Temple, Alper – who is secular – says that’s not something the party aims to bring up for a Knesset vote. Citing what he said was Feiglin’s view on the matter, Alper said: “If the temple is rebuilt, it will be part of a religious awakening – another 100 or 200 years. It’s not a political vision. For a religious person to think of a Temple as something you approve in a Knesset vote is blasphemy.”