Netanyahu Aides Split Over Feiglin Problem

Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu's advisers are divided over the best way to keep Moshe Feiglin from gaining a realistic slot on the party's Knesset slate.

Netanyahu fears that if Feiglin, who represents the party's far-right flank, did win a realistic spot, it would make the slate less attractive to centrist voters.

Some advisers argue that a public battle against Feiglin would merely generate public and media interest in him and exaggerate his faction's power. They therefore recommend that Netanyahu ignore him.

But other advisers say the party cannot sit with folded hands; it must do everything in its power to persuade Likud members not to vote for Feiglin and his followers in the December 8 primary, since Feiglin in a prominent slot would hurt the party's chances in the general election.

Kadima, which plans to make Feiglin a mainstay of its campaign against Likud, is hoping that he will place high on the party's slate. That would facilitate its efforts to paint Likud as a party of right-wing extremists, which in turn might persuade disenchanted centrists to return to Kadima.

Feiglin's camp includes an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 Likud members who are expected to vote as a bloc in the primary.