For years Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not tolerate the presence and growing popularity of Manhigut Yehudit’s leader, Moshe Feiglin. But my how things change. Today YNET News reports that Feiglin has indeed become a virtual poster boy for the new rightward moving Likud Party as Election Day approaches in Israel. What will happen the day after the election may be an entire different story.
How did this one hundred and eighty degree change occur and almost overnight? How is it that after almost four years of apprehension and diplomatic contortion all of a sudden Bibi Netanyahu cannot announce enough housing starts in East Jerusalem—-areas far away from East Jerusalem that the world refers to as East Jerusalem anyway (places like Gilo and Har Homa).
The answer unfortunately may be a mishmash of smoke and mirrors combined with a degree of rope a dope and shadow boxing. What does that all mean exactly? Well, let’s just say that it is not realistic to take all these wonderful, justified, natural growth and expansionist designs at face value.
Bear in mind that some regard these announcements as not just Israel style electoral politics but rather a response to the PA’s President Abbas’s moves to attain United Nations recognition of Palestine in contravention to agreements with Israel as well as in the precise same area that the Jewish state already exists on.
But those are only Palestinian provocative warm wind generated sans of any real content pronouncements. But what is really going on here in the aftermath of all the diplomatic dawdling is that Israeli’s want their avowed enemies—whether they live next door to them or 1,000 miles away—to be handled with authority and power.
As a result Israeli voters have, it seems, shifted significantly to the right. Naftali Bennet’s HaBayit HaYehudi Party representing the serious biblical inspired approach to the Jewish connection to the land of Israel has soared in the polls. Unexpectedly the party may receive as many as 12 seats in the next Knesset. Some pollsters prognosticate that they may receive as many as 15 or 16 seats. Most of these seats come to Mr. Bennett through a lessening commitment to the Likud.
And that’s why—for now anyway—Netanyahu cannot tamper with Mr. Feiglin’s remarkable advancement and popularity. Feiglin today is Bibi’s only chance to pull some attention from Mr. Bennett and Habayit. After the January 22 election we will see if this has been all tough talk, just talk or whether Israel is finally really getting tough.