Zehut

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Zehut

זהות
LeaderMoshe Feiglin
Founded2015 (2015)
Split fromLikud
HeadquartersTel Aviv
IdeologyZionism
Right-libertarianism
Cannabis legalization
Civil libertarianism
Jewish identity
One-state solution
Colours     Light blue
Knesset
0 / 120
Election symbol
ז
Website
zehut.org.il

Zehut (Hebrew: זֶהוּת, lit., Identity) is a libertarian[1][2][3][fn 1] political party in Israel, founded in 2015 by Moshe Feiglin.[4] Its platform is centered around promoting individual liberty, including economic freedom, and applying full Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank.[5][6] Furthermore, Zehut has made legalization of cannabis a condition for joining any government coalition after the 2019 Knesset election.[7][8][9]

History[edit]

Manhigut Yehudit[edit]

The roots of Zehut lie in the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) movement within the Likud party, established in 1995 by Moshe Feiglin in order to attain the country's leadership through it, eventually receiving 23% of the votes in the 2012 Likud leadership election. In the 2013 elections, Feiglin was elected to the 19th Knesset, and served as its Deputy Speaker.[10]

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took active steps to block Feiglin's advancement in the party,[11] he reached the conclusion that it would be impossible to affect any political changes while acting within the Likud. In 2015, he left it to form the Zehut party, which was officially registered later that year.[12][13][14]

Rallies[edit]

Zehut's first conference, held in 2017 at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv Port, had over 2,000 attendees.[15]

Idan Mor, a prominent stand-up comedian and cannabis legalization activist known by his pseudonym "Gadi Wilcherski", joined the party in December 2018, and has appeared in most of its rallies since.[8]

Polls[edit]

Prior to 2019, Zehut had never been listed in a poll by media outlets, but internal polling in April 2017 showed that the party could win up to 12 Knesset seats if voters were confident that it would pass the 3.25% threshold.[16] Many pollsters kept excluding Zehut as a pre-written selectable option as late as 11 March 2019.[17] Since then, every poll conducted by various organizations have showed that Zehut would pass the threshold, receiving 4–8 seats.

In July 2018, Zehut announced it would be holding Israel's first open primaries.[18] They were held on 29 January 2019 at voting booths as well as online. About 12,000 people voted in these primaries, which determined the order of the candidates who won in the party's internal primaries in September 2017.[19][20] One out of every 10 candidates is represented by Zehut International, the party's Jewish diaspora branch.[21]

In late March 2019, a major poll conducted by the National Union of Students found that Zehut was the 2nd-most popular party (after Blue and White) among Israeli college and university students.[22]

2019 campaign goals[edit]

Feiglin stated that he does not have a preference between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main election rival Benny Gantz.[23]

In addition to its condition of cannabis legalization, Zehut will pursue the finance and education ministries in the next government.[7][23] Feiglin also stated that he will not join a government that is willing to sell out the Land of Israel.[24]

Platform[edit]

The party platform of Zehut consists of the following positions:[5][25]

  • Opposition to coercion of all kinds: religious, anti-religious, economic, cultural, or educational; and minimization of state intervention in the life and liberty of private individuals.
  • Gradual reduction of the number of government ministries from 29 to 11.
  • Legalization of cannabis to be sold by licensed companies, with a consumption age limit of 21 years.
  • Lowering taxes by adopting a flat tax rate, equally reducing corporate taxes for all companies, and gradually eliminating custom taxes and import quotas.
  • Reforming education by introducing a school voucher system on a voluntary basis.
  • Reduction of housing prices through land privatization, abolishing planning and building committees, and removing construction freezes in the West Bank.
  • Privatization of state-owned hospitals based on contracts with prize and quality conditions.
  • Transferring matters of religion and culture from the state to the community.
  • Reforming the judicial system by splitting it into one of civil law and one of Halakha (Jewish law) that can only exercise jurisdiction over individuals who have consented thereto.
  • Abolishing the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly over personal issues, and reducing its budget to local voluntary taxation only.
  • Abolishing marriage registration; marriage will be defined individually by each couple.
  • Protection of free speech and media, and abolishing mandatory broadcasting licenses.
  • Protection of the right to keep and bear arms, and extending it to all citizens (not only ex-soldiers) without a violent past or certain physical or mental limitations.
  • Elimination of police brutality by outlawing the use of force against non-violent civil disobedience, and allowing communities to appoint their own local police chiefs.
  • Abolishing the biometric database, as it infringes the right to privacy.
  • Applying full Israeli sovereignty to all parts of the Land of Israel.
    • In the West Bank: Nullification of the Oslo Accords.
    • In the Gaza Strip: Any attack by Hamas against Israel must be responded to by a full re-conquest of Gaza.
    • Terrorists will be offered the option of peaceful withdrawal, and individual non-Jews will be offered three options: financially assisted emigration to a destination of their choice; permanent residency status (equal rights, except for voting rights) after declaring their loyalty to Israel; or Israeli citizenship (full equal rights) when doing military or national service, and after having been thoroughly vetted.
  • Gradual transition of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from a conscription to a professional volunteer army, drafting citizens only for the most basic training.
  • Ending all US aid to Israel, as it damages Israel's economic independence and trade freedom.

Candidates[edit]

The following order of Knesset candidates was chosen in Israel's first open primaries:[26][fn 2]

  1. Moshe Feiglin, Party Chairman and ex-Likud lawmaker
  2. Rabbi Haim Amsalem, ex-Shas lawmaker and religious freedom activist
  3. Gilad Alper, senior economist and candidate for Finance Minister
  4. Dr. Ronit Dror, sociologist and family rights activist
  5. Libby Molad, lawyer and candidate for Education Minister
  6. Shai Malka
  7. Dr. Refael Minnes, physics lecturer and liberty activist
  8. Albert Levy, businessman, environmental activist, and new olim representative
  9. Ron Tsafrir
  10. Rabbi Ben Tzion Spitz, Representative of Diaspora Jewry
  11. Yiska Bina
  12. Shmuel Sackett, led the Zo Artzeinu movement alongside Moshe Feiglin in 1995
  13. Shlomo Gordon
  14. Arcady Mutter
  15. Rabbi Dudi Spitz

Leaders[edit]

Leader Took office Left office
Moshe Feiglin (cropped).jpg Moshe Feiglin 2015 Incumbent

Election Results[edit]

Election year Party Leader # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats
won
+/- Gov?
2019 Moshe Feiglin 117,969 2.74 (#13)
0 / 120
New party N/A

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In addition to libertarian, the party has been described as far-right and nationalist.
    • Kershner, Isabel (5 April 2019). "A Pro-Pot Candidate Could Prove Decisive in Israeli Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2019. ...a far-right nationalist libertarian who advocates small government, legalizing marijuana and a free-market economy.
    • Pfeffer, Anshel (4 April 2019). "Moshe Feiglin: the far-right libertarian who could decide Israel's general election". The Times. Retrieved 7 April 2019. ...Zehut (Identity), the new libertarian party whose poll surge has surprised everyone...pushing for various far-right nationalist policies
  2. ^ Rabbi Haim Amsalem joined the party after the primaries were held

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harkov, Lahav (17 March 2019). "Israel Elections - The Feiglin phenomenon". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 March 2019. The leader of the rising Zehut Party is attracting more than just young potheads to his libertarian platform
  2. ^ "Zehut". Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved 21 February 2019. ...and personal liberty. Its platform includes libertarian economic positions...
  3. ^ Eglash, Ruth (4 April 2019). "A pro-pot party could tip the scales in Israel's upcoming election". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 April 2019. Now you have two special-interest groups. What pulls them together is the strong libertarian, anti-state agenda that works well for both.
  4. ^ "Feiglin's 'Zehut' party heads to the polls". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Zehut Platform". Zehut. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Zehut". Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b Harkov, Lahav (17 March 2019). "Israel Elections - The Feiglin phenomenon". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b משה פייגלין (5 January 2019), עניין החירות זה מה שמחבר אותנו What Brings Us Together, retrieved 9 March 2019
  9. ^ Karzen, Shelly (11 February 2019). "Cannabis Potential and the Cronies: By Moshe Feiglin". Zehut. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin Establishes New Political Party". jpupdates.com. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Feiglin won't appeal bump to 36th spot". ynet. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Feiglin to register new political party". Jerusalem Post.
  13. ^ "Feiglin Establishing New Party for Next Knesset Election". Haaretz.
  14. ^ "Feiglin Registers 'Zehut' Party". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Feiglin: Return the State to the People". Israel National News. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Feiglin to take advantage of Likud's weakness to promote his new party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Political Opinion Polling and Zehut". blogs.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  18. ^ Gil Hoffman. "Moshe Feiglin relaunches right wing political party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  19. ^ Albert Levy (27 January 2019). "Open primaries are good for all Israelis and good for Israel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  20. ^ Wootliff, Raoul. "With first open primaries, Moshe Feiglin's 'Zehut' looks for a public identity". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Zehut is all about leadership". Israel National News. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Gantz, Feiglin top election poll for Israeli college students". Jerusalem Post. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Feiglin says no preference between Gantz and Netanyahu for next PM". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  24. ^ Karzen, Shelly (27 March 2019). "Will ZEHUT Give Up the Land of Israel for Cannabis? Moshe Feiglin answers". Zehut. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  25. ^ "The Zehut Platform Summary". Zehut. 4 April 2019.
  26. ^ "The ZEHUT Knesset List". Zehut. Retrieved 31 March 2019.