By JMag Staff
Can someone who is honest, idealistic and soft spoken make it in Israeli politics? Moshe Feiglin thinks so. In an arena that is filled with subterfuge and back stabbing, Moshe is a different type.
Moshe is a thin man with a short, trim beard and a spark in his eyes. He is the soft spoken leader of the third largest faction inside of the Likud. Moshe came to chat with us about some of his opinions, views of Israel, and its future.
JMag: Moshe, you became famous, perhaps to some infamous, when you organized the "Zu Artzenu" group that protested the now disgraced "Oslo" accords. Why did you join the Likud and not start your own party?
Moshe Feiglin: Zu Artzenu was a protest group; it was a group whose purpose was to protest against something that was wrong. When you protest, you may achieve the goals and the group disappears. Something deeper is needed in this country than just protest. The need is to develop leadership in the government that is based on Jewish values.
JM: Well then, why go into the Likud and not into a religious party such as the National Religious Party (NRP)?
MF: The Prime Minister will come from a major party. Israel really has only two major parties, the Likud and Labor. The Kadima party of Ariel Sharon is not a party. It is a following based on one man. Since Sharon has been out of the picture, Kadima is falling behind and now lags behind the Likud.
The Likud represents all Jews regardless of their religious preferences, national origin, or social or financial status. This is the place for the future leadership with Jewish values to emerge.
JM: How can you feel comfortable inside the Likud? How do you feel about the rule that was passed in the Likud specifically to exclude you from being on the Likud list?
MF: The establishment inside the Likud views the party as theirs. They passed that rule because they are afraid of me. I am gaining strength since I represent all types of Jews. People from all walks of life connect to me and this worries them. So really it is a good sign.
JM: But you came from a NRP Yeshiva. Are you not turning your back on them by joining Likud?
MF: I am taking the values that they have taught me into the real world. The pure belief and power of the Jewish people and the Torah need to be expressed in our national life. My faction, Manhigut Yehudit, seeks to bring these values to our country by developing leadership based on Jewish values.
JM: What about the Israeli Arabs? How do you feel about them?
MF: It appears that the Israeli Arabs identify with our enemies. There are laws in this country that deal with treason and they should be applied when required. If Israeli Arabs are found helping our enemies, they should be stripped of their citizenship. In addition, if they are citizens, they should not be exempt from paying taxes; they should serve in the IDF, or at least in Sherut Le'umi, the National Service.
Arabs who are not Israeli citizens -- those who live in the West Bank and Gaza -- should be encouraged to leave. If they are against us, we must make every effort to ensure that they leave. If they collaborate with our enemy, they must be removed.
JM: What do you say about the war in Lebanon?
MF: I feel that we are lacking an army. Our army buried its spirit in Gush Katif. The foundation of a good army is its spirit, its sense of justice. An army requires strong spirit. We are facing hard times; the Israeli Arabs are just waiting for our defeat.
JM: How would you improve the army and make Israel a better country?
MF: Israel needs more than just a better leader. It is like driving a car. It is not enough to be a better driver. You need to know the proper direction. Likewise, Israel needs Jewish leadership that knows where it is going. All the investigations of the failure in the Lebanese war are missing the point. We have lost our Jewish values and pride.
JM: What do you think should be done?
MF: We must re-establish our Jewish values. For example, the Temple Mount, the most holy place in Judaism should be under Israeli sovereignty.
JM: That sounds pretty extreme to us!
MF: Today, Jews are afraid of their shadow. We fear the gentile's opinion. We are afraid to be normal. For example, the proposed Gay Pride Parade that was scheduled for Jerusalem offended most of Jerusalem's religious and conservative citizens, both Arabs and Jews. Yet the world did not see this as radical. It is repugnant and radical only to Jerusalem's inhabitants. But for a Jew to have the right to go up to the Temple Mount, for a Jew to have the right to pray there, similar to the right that is granted to the Arabs? For some reason, you think that is radical and extreme.
When the Pope quoted a ruler from the Middle Ages who stated that Islam is violent, he was greeted by Islamic violence and threats. What did the world think? Should the Pope apologize in view of the Arab violence? It is this very violence that he was referring to. It is the Arabs who are violent and they proved the truth of the statement. Who is radical?
But should we be afraid of the truth? If we are right, why should we be afraid in our own land? Something is wrong here when I must be given permission to go to the Temple Mount and then they confiscate my little prayer book for fear that I will pray there!
JM: But you have not made much inroads in the Likud. You are not even a member of the Knesset.
MF: Whether I am a member of the Knesset or not is not what is important. What is important here is to become the head of the Likud, because only the leader of a large party has the chance to become Prime Minister. In the last primaries in the Likud there were seven candidates. I came in third and remember, the six candidates that I ran against were members of the Knesset. This means our goal of establishing Jewish leadership for the Jewish state is coming closer to reality.
One third of our supporters do not come from our Manhigut Yehudit faction. Why do they support me? It is because they know that I am honest, that I represent the Jewish values that they know this country needs.
Most Israelis, and I am not talking about only religious Jews, know that the State must have Jewish values. Identifying with "Israeli" values or "Israeli culture" is like being a fan of a sports team. It has no lasting value. It is the Jewish values that every Israeli really wants.
People sometimes feel that Israel exists on borrowed time. It is because they feel that without the inherent Jewish identity that is required for this country, the country is heading for a destruction.
Each nation has its basic foundation and without these values it ceases to be a nation. A Jewish state must possess Jewish values. Without these values, the state is caving in from the top down. Its leaders have no Jewish values.
Manhigut Yehudit is building from the bottom up. We are developing values from the bottom, in the people's attitude towards the state.
Our group is rising as the current leadership is sinking. It is only a matter of time until we will be successful. The more people that support our group, the faster it will succeed; it is only a matter of time.
In conclusion: Will he succeed? We don't know but we were very impressed with our meeting with Moshe Feiglin. Not a politician, thank G-d, but a serious and dedicated man with a good idea that has been spreading and taking root. Will he succeed? Well that is dependent on you, our reader.
You may visit Moshe Feiglin on the internet at the Jewish Leadership Website: www.JewishIsrael.org
from the October 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine