Politician Moshe Feiglin Is Born
Moshe Feiglin during a campaign event for the Zehut party in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, 2019. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

July 31, 1962

Right-wing activist and politician Moshe Feiglin is born in Haifa to a family who came to the Land of Israel during the First Aliyah late in the 19th century.

Feiglin serves as a combat engineer in the Israel Defense Forces and fights in the First Lebanon War. He reaches the rank of captain before leaving the military. He starts a company to maintain the outside of skyscrapers, then launches a high-tech company. He moves into political activism to protest the 1993 Oslo Accords. He founds the Zo Artzeinu (This Is Our Land) movement with Shmuel Sackett for that purpose. The movement’s highlight is a protest in 1995 that shuts down 80 road intersections; Feiglin is convicted of sedition and sentenced to six months in jail in 1997, although the sentence is commuted to community service.

Feiglin co-founds Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) in 1996 to turn Zo Artzeinu’s views into government policies. To that end, Feiglin brings Manhigut Yehudit into Likud in 2000 with the eventual goal of winning the party leadership and becoming prime minister. He receives as much as 23% of the vote in Likud chairman elections in 2005, 2007 and 2012. He wins a seat in the 19th Knesset with Likud in the 2013 election and serves as deputy speaker.

Feiglin leaves Likud before the 2015 Knesset election after he falls from 13th to 36th on the party list based on primary results. He founds Zehut (Identity), a political party that combines a determination to make Israel a strongly Jewish state with liberatarian principles. Thus, Feiglin advocates Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount and the West Bank, decisive military action against Gaza, and incentives for Arabs to leave the Land of Israel while also supporting civil marriage, legal marijuana and free-market economics.

Zehut first presents a national list in the April 2019 election for the 21st Knesset and does well in polls, but the party wins only 2.74% of the votes, short of the 3.25% threshold to receive Knesset seats. The party does not run in the September 2019 and March 2020 elections.