Israel’s Feiglin Discusses Possible Merger with Bennett Amid Elections

Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin poses for a portrait in an office Sunday Jan. 29, 2012, in the coastal town of Caesarea. Feiglin, a hardline Jewish settler who supports cash incentives to empty the West Bank and Gaza of Palestinians is running against Israel's prime minister in Tuesday's ruling Likud party's …
AP/Dan Balilty

TEL AVIV – The pro-cannabis, right-wing leader of the Zehut party, Moshe Feiglin, said he met with New Right leader Naftali Bennett to discuss possibly joining forces in the upcoming elections.

Despite promising campaigns, both parties failed to make it into the Knesset in the April 9 elections.

“The meeting was long and positive, and it definitely looks like there is a basis for further scrutiny into the possibility of cooperation in the upcoming elections,” Feiglin wrote on his Facebook page.

“After the loss of the elections and in light of the lessons we learned, it is important for us to highlight that the Zehut party is indeed open to political connections. But these connections will be made only with parties which share the same values,” he stated.

“120,000 Israelis voted for the notion of freedom built on a base of Judaism,” Feiglin wrote. “Zehut will continue to act to advance personal freedom alongside efforts to bolster Jewish identity and national values.”

“We call upon all political entities that see themselves as part of the freedom camp to put aside personal considerations and join together in a single bloc that will run on a united list in the coming elections,” he said.

He concluded by calling for open primaries to decide who would head up the “freedom” party.

Feiglin, the Knesset wildcard, suffered a fall from grace when he failed to make the  electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote. Prior to that, he had gathered major momentum, mostly for his pro-legalization position that paved the way for other parties — including the ruling Likud — to put cannabis issues in their platforms.

He also promoted a range of quasi-libertarian views based on free market economics while at the same time embracing a nationalist and religious far-right ideology.

Feiglin told Channel 13 that he would consider mergers with other right-wing parties.

He said that this time around, Zehut would be more modest in its demands.

“We still want cannabis legalization but now we are modest and not presenting conditions,” he said. “The policy platform is the same platform, the principles are the same principles, but the style will be different and much more modest,” Feiglin told Army Radio.

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