Feiglin Strikes a Deal With Netanyahu, Quitting Electoral Race for Ministerial Position and Cannabis Reform

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Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 29 August, 2019

By Arye Green/TPS • 29 August, 2019

Moshe Feiglin, head of the  party, and libertarian ZehutPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party reached an agreement on Thursday. Zehut will drop out of the election race in return for a list of promises by Likud, including a ministerial position for Feiglin and cannabis reform.

The agreement will be brought to a referendum of Zehut members on Sunday, and, if it passes, Zehut will officially remove its name from the ballot. The entire agreement has been made publicly available, though it is unclear if it has any legal validity. Some believe that, if necessary, Netanyahu may not follow through on all the promises made.

At the press conference they held together, Netanyahu and Feiglin acknowledged their rocky past, previously being rivals within the Likud, but said they see a bright future together and hope to work together in the upcoming government.

“I see you as a minister in my government and a partner. I really, really mean it,” Netanyahu told Feiglin. “Both before and after the election,” he promised.

Feiglin reciprocated with compliments to Netanyahu. “I have no doubt the cooperation will be outstanding,” he said about the two parties, adding that Netanyahu and himself “share exactly the same worldview in economics and many other fields.”

Netanyahu has made numerous attempts to shape the right-wing parties that are likely to form a government with him after the elections. In the previous elections in April two parties failed to pass the electoral threshold, losing roughly six seats in the Knesset, that would have potentially allowed him to form a government, rendering the second election round unnecessary.

The deal with Zehut is the latest attempt by the Likud to salvage right-wing votes that would otherwise likely be lost to the electoral threshold once again.

Some have argued that the deal is immoral and possibly even illegal. The Labor and Democratic Union parties, along with several left-wing think tanks, have asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to check whether the agreement ought to be considered election bribery.

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