Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Likud Ministers and MKs at Feiglin Wedding

Mazal tov to Moshe and Tzippy Feiglin on the marriage of their son, Aryeh, to Todayah Avigal. The Feiglin's younger son, David Yosef, still recuperating from a serious car accident, made the seventh blessing under the chuppah, leaving virtually no dry eye in the large hall. The joyous wedding was also attended by an all-star Likud roster, as reported in the Jerusalem Post:
(Pictured right to left: Shmuel Sackett, Moshe Feiglin, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Communications Minister Moshe Kachalon, Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Hagai Greentzeig)

Jerusalem Post: 24 Iyar 5772 (May 15, '12)

New Clout Draws Ministers to Feiglin Wedding
By Gil Hoffman
Eight Likud ministers and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin attend the Likud activist's son's wedding, showing growing influence. 

Ahead of the last two general elections, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took every political and legal step possible to prevent Likud activist Moshe Feiglin and his closest political allies from entering the Knesset.

When two top Likud MKs were on their way to an event hosted by Feiglin in 2007, Netanyahu's office called them, threatened them, and the MKs made a U-turn and went home.

But seven years later, Feiglin has entered the Likud mainstream. Netanyahu's advisers said that had the Likud held an election for its Knesset slate next month as had been planned before early elections were canceled, the prime minister intended to ignore Feiglin this time.

In the ultimate sign that Feiglin is no longer considered controversial, no less than eight Likud ministers as well as Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin attended the wedding of Feiglin's son Aryeh and his bride Todayah on Sunday.

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat all attended to honor Feiglin.

Livnat was the most surprising attendee because she had vocally bashed Feiglin in the past. Even Netanyahu reached out to Feiglin last month, calling him to express condolences when Feiglin's father died.

"No one questions our allegiance to the Likud anymore,” Feiglin said. “Everyone sees that it is much more natural that the national camp in Likud decides races in the party than non-Zionist Arab voters making the difference in Kadima and Labor.”

Feiglin's move to the mainstream can be dated back to his son David's life threatening car crash in June 2010. David is better now but one of the lasting effects of his injury was that it softened his father.

Following Netanyahu's announcement that he had formed a national-unity government with Kadima last week, Feiglin praised the move on his Facebook page, even though it likely meant another year and a half before he could enter the Knesset.

Had the early election taken place, Kadima strategists intended to portray the Likud in Feiglin's image. Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni recently warned that Israeli politics will fall prey to a "Dark Feiglinist dictatorship."

Livni's comment stars in ads for Feiglin's annual fundraising dinner in New York in three weeks.

“We don't think we're so dark,” the ad said. “In fact, we throw pretty good parties! Come join us for dinner on June 5 and help Livni see the light.”

Labor MK Daniel Ben-Simon said he was saddened by the ministers attending the wedding. He said they instead should have sent him a message that his politics were unwelcome in Likud.

"This is the new face of Likud: Feiglin and Sons Ltd," Ben-Simon said. "In the last few years his impact has been so dominant that in another decade his spirit will dominate the Likud party. This popular movement founded by Menachem Begin will become radical and extremist. It's a bad thing for Israel.

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