Feiglin, Moshe

(1962- )
   Leader of the Manhigut Yehidut (Jewish Leadership Movement) right-wing faction within the Likud Party and an increasingly potent force in Israeli politics. He sought to reshape Israel according to his own ultranational and Orthodox definition of Judaism. He and like-minded activists worked to thwart the 2005 Gaza withdrawal while at the same time taking steps toward making Israel "more Jewish." Feiglin argued, "The disengagement has no logic, either military, demographically, or otherwise. It is simply a desire to disengage from Israel's Jewish identity." His faction's literature cited Genesis 35:12, in which the patriarch Jacob, renamed Israel, is promised by God that the "land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land." Under Manhigut Yehudit, many of Israel's more than 1 million Arab citizens would lose their right to live in the country because "their representatives show complete disloyalty to Jewish sovereignty."
   For Feiglin, keeping all the Land of Israel (see ERETZ ISRAEL [ERETZ YISRAEL]) — which he defines as reaching at least from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the Euphrates River in Iraq—is the embodiment of God's will. The former army officer who specialized in defusing mines and who was later the owner of a computer company says, "The miraculous return of the Jewish people to its land after 2,000 years proves that this people has a father in heaven. When we ourselves deny this, it results in catastrophe not only for the Jews in the land of Israel but the entire world."
   Feiglin, who got his start in politics by organizing protests against the Oslo Accords, said he would stress "non-violent civil rebellion" in Israel, such as blocking highways. According to Feiglin, using force against Israeli soldiers carrying out the withdrawal was "moral" but politically unwise. His strategy of disrupting the Gaza disengagement by urging religious soldiers to refuse orders to evict settlers was largely unsuccessful. In what he subsequently acknowledged was an effort to force the settlers' concerns onto the public agenda, Feiglin ran for the Likud leadership when the party held its leadership primary in December 2005 in preparation for the March 2006 election (see KNESSET ELECTIONS) to the 17th Knesset. Although he trailed well behind the eventual winner, Benjamin Netanyahu, Feiglin surprised many observers by taking 12 percent of the vote among those Likud Party members who participated in the primary. He and Netanyahu subsequently struggled over the place for himself and his right-wing faction on the Likud slate for the 28 March 2006 election for the Knesset. Feiglin was again defeated by Netanyahu for the Likud leadership on 14 August 2007, receiving 23 percent of the vote compared to Netanyahu's 73 percent.
   See also Political parties.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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