Feiglin won't say 'I told you so,' but still blames Bibi for Likud coming in 2nd
Feb. 17, 2009
Abe Selig , THE JERUSALEM POST
Moshe Feiglin was upbeat and on the move Tuesday evening, but that didn't stop the Likud dark horse and rival of party leader Binyamin Netanyahu from sounding off about his views on the recent elections and Likud's tight second place showing next to Kadima.
"I could say, 'I told you so,'" Feiglin said. "But what would that help? It's not my mind-set, and it's not relevant anymore. I'm moving forward."
Feiglin was voted into the party's 20th spot on its Knesset list after the December 2008 primaries, but was immediately pushed down to No. 36, after a petition was submitted against him by Ophir Ekonis, a close Netanyahu associate and No. 28 on the party's roster.
Feiglin asserted Tuesday that had he remained in his original place on the Likud list, the party would not be embroiled in its current struggle to cobble together a coalition, and Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu Party would not have taken away precious votes that had initially been on course for Likud.
"If you look at the polls from December, you'll see something amazing," Feiglin said. "On December 1, Likud had 35 mandates and Lieberman only had eight."
But after what he called Netanyahu's "war against Feiglin" - the shuffling of the Knesset list to push him further down, among other things - Likud dropped dramatically, Feiglin said.
"The National Union party didn't exist when Netanyahu began attacking me," he said. "But as soon as he did, Lieberman started going up and Likud started going down, and the National Union reappeared. So you do the math - Lieberman had eight mandates on December 1, and the final results gave him 15. Those were seven seats that should have gone to Likud. Take that, plus the National Union's four seats, and it's clear. If Bibi Netanyahu had stayed home from August until the elections, Likud would have received around 38 mandates in the recent election."
Nonetheless, Feiglin said he had big plans for the future.
"I'm going to run for chairman of the Likud Party," he said. "I think that people within the Likud Party understand exactly what happened. They all know the story. I think my chances are good, and of course, with God's help, I think I'll do quite well."
Feiglin originally ran for the Likud premiership in 2005 and placed third with 12.5 percent of the vote, behind MK Silvan Shalom and Netanyahu. In the August 14, 2007 primaries, Feiglin nearly doubled his previous showing and received 23.4% of the votes to Netanyahu's 72.8%. Netanyahu, fearing a strong showing by Feiglin, tried to have him ousted from the party prior to the vote, and has said he will continue such efforts.
But that has yet to scuttle Feiglin's attempts. Asked when he plans to begin his campaign, Feiglin said he would get started as soon as the next Likud primaries were on the horizon.
"And I think they're going to take place much sooner than you'd expect," he said.