Hopes for broad, right-wing bloc crumble as Zehut party runs alone

After missing in April, Feiglin expresses optimism that Zehut can gain enough votes this time to enter the Knesset.

By World Israel News Staff 

Former MK Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party will run separately in the September 17 Knesset election.

Feiglin submitted his party’s list of candidates to the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday as a two-day registration period began. Parties have until 10 p.m. on Thursday to carry out the process of confirming their participation in the ballot.

Zehut was the sensation of the previous election campaign before the April 9 vote for parliament, shocking pollsters by not only gaining several seats in pre-election surveys, but in some cases even reaching double digits.

His appeal was a combination of strong right-wing views on issues such as Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and Israeli control of Judea and Samaria together with a libertarian platform and support for the legalization of marijuana.

However, on the final days of the campaign, his support seemed to wane, and on election day, he failed to gain enough votes to enter the Knesset.

With his hard core following coming from the right, Feiglin says that he tried to join the new United Right bloc but was not wanted, though according to other accounts, the bloc did make an effort to bring him in.

On Tuesday, Feiglin posted on Facebook that former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, leader of the new United Right, “endangers right-wing rule” and that her bloc is too religiously extreme, though she herself is secular.

Feiglin, who wears a kippah, counters that Zehut is the “one party which represents the sane, liberal right.”

Zehut party leader Moshe Feiglin submitting his party list to the Central Elections Committee in Jerusalem on July 31, 2019.

Feiglin submitting his party list. (Flash90)

Shaked had called for a broad right-wing coalition and at least publicly invited Feiglin to join. Feiglin denied this, telling Army Radio on Monday that “no negotiations were conducted even though everyone knew our hands were outstretched.”

Feiglin is a former member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, served as a Likud MK, ran unsuccessfully a few times for the chairmanship of the party, and was considered by Netanyahu as a nemesis.

Speaking to reporters after submitting his party list on Wednesday, Feiglin said that he believed that Zehut could win Knesset seats in September.