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Sunday, January 18, 2004

An Article on the Tactics and Strategy of Manhigut Yehudit

By: Moshe Feiglin

At the time of writing the fate of the famous amendment 19c is not clear. If the amendment is brought to the vote it is reasonable to assume that it will receive a majority. However, the intensity of the opposition originating in those close to the prime minister, and in the Leftist elites, who are afraid of the creation of a democratic tool that will balance the pressure they are currently applying to the prime minister, is likely to take the form of a variety of legalistic arguments and administrative stratagems to prevent this important amendment being brought to the vote.

We are of course making every effort for the success of the move, and with G-d's help we will cause the amendment to be passed in its entirety. However, we have noticed that there is another kind of danger threatening us, an internal one amongst the ranks of Manhigut Yehudit members and our supporters. This article is intended to address this issue.

This is not the first time that Manhigut Yehudit is facing a difficult trial in the political reality. We have already waged several similar political battles. These included those centering around our representation in the Likud Central Committee, the list for the Knesset, and for the leadership of the Likud. We are now in the middle of a battle about changes to the Likud constitution. In addition we are daily waging a number of exhausting battles. We sometimes win these battles, and sometimes lose. Perhaps on balance we have lost more than we have won, but it is important to keep in mind that even if we occasionally lose a battle, we are actually winning the war.

Do you remember how people reacted to the failure of our efforts to get our candidates into the Likud list for the Knesset? Many people claimed at that time that this marked the end of Manhigut Yehudit. Some people even canceled their membership of the Likud in despair, thus considerably harming our efforts. They failed to understand that we regard the Knesset as a means to an end, and not as the end itself.

It is now clear that Manhigut Yehudit, even without MKs and ministers, has more influence than MKs and ministers from other parties. It seems that the race will be won by the one who chooses the right path. Many interpretations can be given to Livnat's slanderous attack on the "Feiglinites", but everyone realizes that when a senior minister is prepared to present her party as one of "criminals", and when sources close to the prime minister compare those who initiated amendment 19c to the Nazi party (Yossi Werter in Ha'aretz, 6.1.04), this means that Manhigut Yehudit is applying pressure where it hurts.

Did we win the battle for the Knesset? Of course not. Will we win the battle for amendment 19C? Perhaps.

But the most important thing to remember is that we're are all the time winning the overall war. These small battles are tactical struggles on the way to achieving the strategic objective. If we succeed in getting amendment 19c passed, this will represent a major advance. If we do not succeed in doing so, the advance will be more moderate. Our strategic objective is to put forward a belief-based alternative for the leadership of Israel. The road to achieve this strategic objective is still long, difficult, and complicated. But if, as a result of the tactical battles, some of which we lost and some of which we won, we have advanced towards this objective or retreated from it – this is the real issue.

Let us assume for a moment that in the current Israeli reality the Manhigut Yehudit movement did not exist. Would a 17-year-old boy from any yeshiva high school dare to imagine such a strange dream?

Let us assume that all these political struggles, and the consequent headlines, had not taken place. Would anyone think in this direction? Would these views have been publicized in any way? Would anyone on the Right seek an option lying outside the Netanyahu/ Olmert/ Mofaz axis?

We are therefore winning all the time because, as Herzl said, "If you want it to happen, it will not remain a dream". It is only a question of time from the moment when the public begins dreaming the right dream until this dream becomes reality. Such dreams are in fact the reality itself. Manhigut Yehudit is planting in the public consciousness the right dream, which will inevitably become the reality. This is our strategic objective and we are winning, because we are advancing towards it all the time. All the rest is just tactics. However important they are (and we are making every effort to succeed in them also), they remain tactics only.

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