TEL AVIV — Moshe Feiglin, chairman of the Zehut party, vowed that if he enters the Knesset following next month’s election here, he will work to “drain the swamp” by fighting corruption and big government policies that, Feiglin argues, are negatively impacting Israelis’ day-to-day lives.
Feiglin’s surprise surge in the polls in recent days sent shockwaves across the Israeli political arena amid widespread speculation that his party could be the ultimate kingmaker in the formation of the next government, determining which Israeli leader will be able to cobble together enough seats to form a majority coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds himself facing a tight race from challenger Benny Gantz, a former chief of the Israel Defense Forces. The next occupant of the prime minister’s office could be decided by the size of the smaller parties on the right or left endorsing either a Netanyahu or Gantz coalition. Feiglin’s decidedly anti-establishment Zehut party is currently projected to cross the electoral threshold and garner at least four Knesset seats.
Speaking in an interview set to air on this reporter’s Sunday night radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” Feiglin explained that President Donald Trump’s catchphrase “drain the swamp” applies to Israel.
“[Trump] spoke about draining the swamp. This is exactly what we are talking about here,” Feiglin stated. “Drain the swamp. And believe it or not, in Israel the swamps are much deeper.”
America is at least based on the free market. The concept of the free market and freedom all together is what created America. Israel started as one big swamp of socialism to begin with from the time of Mapai (the Workers Party of the Land of Israel) and Ben-Gurion and so on. It was socialists who established the State of Israel and the Histadrut (General Organization of Workers in Israel) and the unions is what ran the show over here from the very beginning.
So the swamp here is much deeper. It is not going to be easy to deal with but because we are coming not from within the establishment but from outside of it and we are coming with the will to fight it and to win that fight. And add to that the fact that there is a new and young generation in Israel that understands what we are talking about and is giving us the backing that will stand with us. … I think there is a very good chance that we will succeed.
Feiglin charged that the current system of government in Israel fosters corruption. “There are wide circles of people who are connected to the system who are making a very good parnasa (Hebrew word for a living) from all of that,” he said.
“This is something that the Zehut Party will end,” Feiglin pledged. “Because we are totally new. We don’t connect to the system. We will come with a broom and sweep very well the whole system.”
Feiglin formerly was a Knesset member in Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Feiglin’s libertarian policies have been attracting voters from the right, center and the left. Zehut’s extensive platform seeks to massively lower Israeli regulation, especially as it relates to the cost of living, housing and taxes.
On all major issues, Zehut’s philosophy consistently calls on government to minimize its role in the personal lives of Israeli citizens.
When it comes to security and the so-called Palestinian issue, the religious Zionist Feiglin takes a strong line promoting the territorial contiguity of the land of Israel. In a previous interview with this reporter, Feiglin, drawing from the Zehut platform, contended that is time for Israel to formally abandon the so-called two-state solution as well as the concept of a Palestinian state and instead push for the complete Israeli annexation of the West Bank and retaking of the Gaza Strip.
The one Zehut policy issue that has perhaps garnered the most attention and significant electoral support so far is the party’s call for the legalization of cannabis, with Feiglin naturally aligning his anti-establishment ideology with the sizable marijuana legalization crowd.
Israel’s foremost legalization activist, stand-up comedian and actor Gadi Wilcherski, is a candidate on Zehut’s list and has been a fixture at most Zehut campaign events. In what many here take as a clear bid to court Feiglin ahead of next month’s election, Netanyahu last week said that he is looking into legalizing cannabis.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.