Much has happened since Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit left the Likud just a few months ago. We would like to take this opportunity to give you an update and share the developments and progress that we have made since we set out on our new path.
The results of the Likud primaries made it completely clear that once again, heads of the Likud, including PM Netanyahu, took steps (some of them anti-democratic) against Moshe Feiglin. As such, Mr. Feiglin and the heads of Manhigut Yehudit concluded that the advancement of the idea and dream of Jewish leadership for the State of Israel could no longer be accomplished through the Likud. Clearly, the PM and the Likud MKs will continue to attempt to obstruct the creation of the faith-based Zionist leadership that our movement is attempting to establish. The time had come to respectfully leave the Likud and to set out on an independent path. Our new path is difficult and complex, but with G-d's help, it will lead us to true change and rectification for the State of Israel.
A short while after the decision was made, a major conference was held in the Jerusalem Convention Center. The hall was overflowing with hundreds of activists and reporters who came to hear Moshe Feiglin's decision and plans for the future. Feiglin clearly and succinctly explained that while Manhigut Yehudit had developed in the 'womb' of the Likud, the time had come to be 'born' and begin to independently go forward with a new political movement. The audience was enthusiastic and supportive. The general feeling was that the Manhigut Yehudit activists were tired of being stuck in the political games of the Likud and were excited about setting out on a new and independent path.
Since that dramatic evening, we have, thank G-d, enjoyed much significant progress. Our new movement is taking form and standing on its own two feet. First, a name was chosen for the new movement: " Zehut: An Israeli Jewish Movement".
From the very beginning, we understood that our activists and supporters, both new and old, were determined to actively participate in the Zehut movement from its very inception. We decided to give the public the opportunity to register as founders of the movement, even before it was registered in the Ministry of Interior. The response was most impressive. More than 500 people from all walks of Israeli life, veteran activists from the Zo Artzeinu era and new, young supporters who were waiting for us to leave the Likud joined as founders of Zehut. This fact is even more impressive when we consider that every founder had to pay hundreds of shekels and sign legal documents - for a party that did not yet exist!
While registering the movement's founders, we began the procedure of registering the Zehut movement in the Ministry of Interior. We are now at an advanced stage of registration. We hope that within two to three months, the Zehut Movement will be recognized as an official political party.
Our members and volunteers, however, did not wait and have begun widespread activism for the new movement. At this point, we are focusing on spreading the word that a new political party, which will create a ruling alternative based on solid Jewish-Israeli identity, has been founded. This is not just another hot-air balloon party that will rise meteorically and then disappear off the face of Israeli politics. Our message is going out in many forms and relying heavily on social media. Moshe Feiglin's Facebook page and the Zehut Facebook page are connecting with new people all the time, spreading the message. A group of volunteers is at work virtually around the clock to advance our ideas in the media. They are preparing videos, articles, press releases, posts and more.
A number of weeks ago, two significant events for the Zehut founders and activists were held. A 'l'chaim' before Pesach and an evening with Moshe Feiglin in his home. Both events were very successful. Hundreds of people turned out and the excitement of creating something new, unique and independent - was tangible in the air. At both events, Moshe Feiglin charted out the course of the movement and followed up with an intense question and answer session in which our members made valuable suggestions, asked challenging questions and actively participated in guiding the new movement.
The media has displayed keen interest in our new movement. Moshe Feiglin is regularly invited to in-depth interviews with a broad spectrum of Israeli media. In his unique and clear style, Moshe presents Zehut's approach to the issues facing Israel. More than once, he has found a listening ear and agreement with an initially hostile interviewer, who had intended to attack the 'representative of the extreme Right' and was surprised to discover a 'faith based liberal' - deep and rigorous.
On the ground, our movement is moving forward. Task forces are coming together on various issues and beginning to work. Soon, we will be seeing Zehut stands at all sorts of events throughout Israel. Their purpose will be to register and connect people to the vision and principles of our movement. In addition, Zehut student groups have been formed - the latest in Ariel University. More student groups are coming together in universities and colleges, where they will advance Zehut's values among Israel's future leadership.
In the weeks ahead we plan to travel throughout Israel, speaking at local gatherings in which Moshe Feiglin and the heads of Zehut will present their vision. These gatherings will spread the message of faith-based identity, advancing us toward leadership of the Nation while adding more and more people to the Zehut ranks.
The faith-based train has left the station and is advancing toward its destination. As opposed to the past, we are now sitting in the driver's seat and guiding the train up the mountain.
We will be happy to continue to work with you. You, our 'human resources', are our strongest and most significant asset. We have been marching together for years, facing difficult and complex challenges. Now, for the first time, we are marching on our own. It is only natural that those who joined us in the back of the train will now join us when we sit in driver's seat. Let us progress together toward the faith-based leadership we have always dreamed of!