Yesterday, the leadership race for the Likud party took place. The main contenders were a certain Binyamin Netanyahu, and the less well known (outside of Israel) Moshe Feiglin.
While I have yet to see final figures, it appears the turnout was low – about 20% – with Netanyahu easily beating off the Feiglin challenge. Why was the turnout so bad? (In my world, “bad” as in “bloody awful, and a disgrace for any democratic, political party”.) Netanyahu and Feiglin had done a deal to agree which Likud members would be elected to the central committee. So, with the winner a virtual certainty, and the committee places already carved up, why bother to vote? (In my world, “carved up” as in “why bother with any voting?”)
But the real gem in all of this, was the strange stalking of Feiglin by Fred Moncharsh, an American who formerly supported Feiglin, but now campaigns against him. Yesterday, according to the report in today’s Jerusalem Post newspaper (paper – not the website!) Moncharsh followed Feiglin around at the Jerusalem polling spot, brandishing a sign that called Feiglin a “false prophet”. Then he changed his sign to one that quoted Feiglin, in 2009, urging people to vote for Kadima leader Tzipi Livni rather than Netanyahu.
Moncharsh is quoted as saying:
I honestly think Moshe Feiglin is a hypocrite, because even though he was a Likud leadership candidate, he preferred someone from a rival party for prime minister. He is not a real Likudnik, and I think it’s important that the prime minister be given a mandate in this election.
Point of Irony: The world’s media habitually – and insultingly – label Netanyahu as a “right winger”. But Feiglin, described by Moncharsh as “not a real Likudnik”, is seen as more right wing than Netanyahu. Hmmm.
But the kicker is in the quote from Feiglin’s top Jerusalem activist, Nitza Kahane who said:
Fred doesn’t bother us. He just has an American mentality that everything has to be super clean, and that doesn’t work here.
Welcome to the Middle East.