Moshe Feiglin, leader of the radical right-wing Zionist group Manhigut Yehudit, won 23.4 percent of the Likud votes in the primary election last week. Although he did not come close to Netanyahu's 73.2 percent, Netanyahu fears that he will give the party an extremist image, lessening Netanyahu's own chances of election as prime minister.
When Netanyahu, as prime minister in 1998, signed the Wye Accords, Feiglin founded Manhigut, a radical ideological group that advocates holding on to all the land of Israel, encouraging non-Jews to emigrate, denying Arabs the right to serve in the Knesset, weakening the Supreme Court, pulling Israel out of the U.N., establishing a leadership of religious believers and creating a "more Jewish" Israel.
In 1999, the movement's members, nearly all Orthodox settlers, joined the Likud en bloc. Aware that an extremist movement of the type he led stood no chance on its own, Feiglin planned to take over a large established right-tending Israeli part from the inside. If successful, he argued, he could even become prime minister.
His progress has been rapid: in the 2002 primary, he got 3 percent of the party vote; in 2005, 13 percent, and now in 2007 more than 23 percent.
The Yated Neeman reported, "Feiglin said he was encouraged by the support he received and promised to continue to fight for his vision of a religious leadership in Israel... [he] denied that his percentage benefited from low voter turnout. 'It cannot be claimed that 40% is not a general representation of Likud members. In my opinion it also represents the population of Israel. The general public is fed up.' He also said his strong showing places Manhigut Yehudit at the head of the nationalist camp. 'This will be remembered as an emotional day in which Israel will return to the people and will no longer be controlled by a leftist minority and politicians on the Right who do their bidding.'"
Torah-true Jews strongly disassociate themselves from all Zionists, especially the religious ones who claim that their extreme racist and belligerent ideas are the Torah view. We are alarmed that the world is being given the impression that these people are Orthodox, when in reality their views are a great departure from traditional Judaism.
We reiterate our comment last week: the past fifteen years have seen the Zionist movement grow even more dangerous from a Torah viewpoint, because its strongest defenders have increasingly been observant Jews. In an era when secular Zionists are more and more willing to make concessions for the sake of peace, it is the religious Zionists who are saying that the Zionist state isn't Zionist enough for them.
This change warrants a new approach in the fight against Zionism. In the early decades of the state, gedolim fought against the state's anti-religious laws, but many of them did not say much on the halachic question of creating a state, since the state was founded and run by people who did not ask any halachic questions. Today, with Zionism becoming an increasingly religious ideology, it is time for us as Torah Jews who are follow the gedolim to set the record straight and find out what gedolim actually held and hold.