Zehut

Zehut

Zehut
Leader: Moshe Feiglin
Current Seats: 0
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: N/A (not in last Knesset)
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Opposes

Zehut is a radical right political party founded in 2015 by Moshe Feiglin. It is known for its extremist positions on the Palestinians and for its support of marijuana legalization.

Zehut supports marijuana legalization, compelling Palestinians to leave the West Bank, and annulling the Oslo Accords.

Feiglin, a former Likudnik sidelined by Benjamin Netanyahu, failed to bring Zehut over the electoral threshold in the 2015 elections. However, most polls now project his party will make it into the next Knesset.

Zehut’s platform on the Palestinian conflict involves the annulment of the Oslo Accords and the reestablishment of direct Israeli military rule across all of the West Bank. Zehut also pushes for the removal of the Palestinian population by way of “incentivized transfer,” a sanitized term for the ethnic cleansing of the territory that suggests the local Arab population could be paid to leave. Those Palestinians who remain will be made permanent residents, not citizens, upon declaring allegiance to Israel. Under Zehut’s one state scenario, government buildings would be relocated from West Jerusalem to within the Old City and a synagogue would be built on the Temple Mount, presently home to the Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa Mosque.

Zehut opposes American military aid to Israel, making the case that such assistance makes Israel subordinate to U.S. foreign policy.

Moshe Feiglin, a former Likudnik, heads Zehut.

The marijuana legalization factor, part of the list’s broader libertarian agenda, cannot be ignored in Zehut’s sudden rise above the electoral threshold. Many voters who previously supported the Green Leaf party (a pro-legalization faction that never passed the threshold) could end up backing Zehut. In response to Zehut’s ascendance in the polls, other politicians including Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Ayelet Shaked (Hayamin Hehadash), and Avi Gabbay (Labor) have begun laying out policies on marijuana legalization to capitalize on the issue.


Hayamin Hehadash

Hayamin Hehadash

Leader: Naftali Bennett
Current Seats: 3 (new party)
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: N/A (new party — members served in government under Habayit Hayehudi)
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Opposes

Hayamin Hehadash is a new right-wing party (aptly named) launched by erstwhile Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett. While 2019 will be the first lection in which Hayamin Hehadash runs, three incumbent MKs are currently affiliated with the faction — Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, and Shuli Mualem, all formerly of Habayit Hayehudi.

Hayamin Hehadash's roster includes dedicated supporters of West Bank annexation, including Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, and Caroline Glick.

Naftali Bennett pioneered the Bennett Plan/Stability Plan, which calls for annexation of Area C (60 percent) of the West Bank and the establishment of an autonomous Palestinian regime on the remaining 40 percent of the territory. Bennett has recruited far-right pundit Caroline Glick to run on Hayamin Hehadash’s list. Glick, like Bennett, alleges there are fewer Palestinians living in the West Bank than is generally accepted, using their claims as a pretext for annexation.

Before founding Hayamin Hehadash, Naftali Bennett became an influential player in right-wing Israeli politics as head of Habayit Hayehudi.

The separation of Hayamin Hehadash from Habayit Hayehudi can bee seen as an attempt by Bennett and Shaked to break from the influence of Tekuma’s rabbinic leadership. While Hayamin Hehadash is almost guaranteed to sit in government with Netanyahu’s Likud, Bennett and Shaked are widely seen as having aspirations of holding the premiership after Netanyahu leaves office.


Habayit Hayehudi

Habayit Hayehudi

Leader: Rafi Peretz
Current Seats: 5
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: Government
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Opposes

Habayit Hayehudi is a right-wing national-religious party. The party was originally formed in 2008 as a union of the National-Religious Party, Moledet, and Tkuma. The party began achieving broader success in 2012, under the leadership of Naftali Bennett, a modern Orthodox businessman. Bennett split from the party in late 2018, launching Hayamin Hehadash.

Three MKs, including Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, left Habayit Hayehudi to form Hayemin Hehadash.

When Bennett led the party, he pushed a program known as the Bennett Plan or the Stability Plan, which calls for the annexation of Area C (60 percent) of the West Bank and the establishment of an autonomous Palestinian regime in the remaining 40 percent of the territory. MK Bezalel Smotrich, who leads Tekuma sought the leadership of the rump Habayit Hayehudi, has espoused more extreme views than Bennett, including explicit support for segregation and the removal of Palestinian traffic from West Bank roads. Bayit Yehudi will also run on a joint list with Otzma Yehudit, a Kahanist faction that advocates the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank, at the insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The party ultimately elected Rabbi Rafi Peretz, a former IDF chief rabbi, as its leader in an attempt to retains some of its mainstream clout, though its reputation will likely be muddied by association with Otzma and Tkuma.

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz was elected to lead Bayit Yehudi after Naftali Bennett’s departure.

Habayit Hayehudi was a major coalition partner for Benjamin Netanyahu in his last two governments, with Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked holding major ministerial portfolios. However, the departure of Bennett and Shaked (herself a secular Israeli Jew), along with the renegotiation of Tkuma’s role in the party and the joint list with Otzma Yehudit, will likely diminish much of Habayit Hayehudi’s appeal outside a hardcore settler constituency.


Yisrael Beiteinu

Yisrael Beiteinu

Leader: Avigdor Liberman
Current Seats: 5
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: Both (opposition 3/2015-5/2016, 11/2018-present, government 5/2016-11/2018)
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Supports

Yisrael Beiteinu is a right-wing political party established in 1999 by Avigdor Liberman. Soviet-born Liberman launched the party as a special interests faction to represent the concern of Israel’s million-plus Russian-speaking immigrant community. Today, however, the party seeks a more national orientation, aiming to recruit supporters from outside the Russian Israeli community.

Yisrael Beiteinu was founded as a Russian speakers special interest party and was once the second-largest right-wing faction in the Knesset. Today, it is unclear whether it can pass the electoral threshold.

Avigdor Liberman lives in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim. However, Yisrael Beiteinu officially supports a version of the two-state solution colloquially known as the Liberman Plan. Under the Liberman Plan, large settlements would be annexed to Israel, but predominantly Arab parts of Israel, such as the Triangle in northern Israel, would be ceded a future Palestinian state. This program is strongly opposed by Palestinian citizens of Israel, who do not want to surrender their citizenship. Liberman is hawkish on military affairs, often seeking to position himself as more militant than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Indeed, it was Liberman who brought the coalition to a single-seat majority when he resigned in protest over a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza, criticizing Netanyahu’s government as soft on terror.

Avigdor Liberman resigned as defense minister in protest over a ceasefire with Hamas, bringing the coalition to a single-seat majority. Now he’s trying to market himself as a more authentically right-wing candidate than Netanyahu.

Yisrael Beiteinu was once the second-largest faction in the Knesset, running on a joint list with Likud in 2013. However, the growing integration of Yisrael Beiteinu’s natural base (Russian Israelis) and the rise of other new right-wing parties have left Liberman’s faction treading water, with most polls placing the party right around the electoral threshold.


Likud

The Likud

Leader: Benjamin Netanyahu

Current Seats: 30

Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: Government
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Opposes

Likud is Israel’s largest right-wing party. In 1977, under Menachem Begin’s leadership, the party broke the three-decade electoral monopoly of the Labor Party and its antecedents. Since then, it has been a dominant force in Israeli politics, returning to lead the government under prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon.

Last year, the Likud Central Committee overwhelmingly voted to endorse de facto annexation of West Bank Area C.

December 2017

The party was formed as a union of several smaller right-wing factions. The party’s primary philosophy includes a more hardline approach toward territorial concessions for the Palestinians and a commitment to economic liberalism (the latter tenet has mattered less as an ideological determinant since the privatization of Israel’s economy). While Benjamin Netanyahu has offered tepid endorsement of a two-state solution (which he has since partially walked back), the party officially opposes the creation of a Palestinian state. Last year, the Likud Central Committee overwhelmingly voted to endorse de facto annexation of West Bank Area C.

Should Benjamin Netanyahu win this election, he will almost certainly surpass David Ben-Gurion’s records as Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister.

Because Likud is a large party, some members hold conflicting views on different policy platforms. Dissident factions have previously split off from the party, including Herut-National Movement (not to be confused with Menachem Begin’s Herut), which left in protest over Benjamin Netanyahu’s withdrawal from certain West Bank territories under the 1998 Wye River Memorandum. The disengagement from Gaza under Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon divided the party, leading Sharon to launch a new centrist faction, Kadima. In the 2019 primaries, a number of candidates opposed by Netanyahu, including Gideon Sa’ar, performed well, suggesting Netanyahu’s hold on the party is not ironclad.

WATCH: Likud Lawmakers Before Central Committee Vote on Annexation