Where is Moshe Feiglin coming from?

They’re Not Laughing Anymore – An Interview with Moshe Feiglin

World of Judaica

Oftentimes it seemed that the hardest thing to listen to for the last 13 years has been his complete and utter seriousness while demanding “Faith-based leadership for Israel.” In the end, maybe this makes even us, the religious Zionists, nervous • Moshe Feiglin is running alone against Benjamin Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud. The results of these primaries, even if they don’t end in a victory for him, will still be enough to bring this man’s vision one step closer to reality • Moshe Feiglin answers all the questions you ever wanted to ask – to what extent he believes in his goal. How younger Knesset Members have overtaken him. Why is it that it’s hardest for religious people to come to terms with Jewish Leadership. What mistakes does he admit and what does he remain stubborn about • The Big Race

A long time ago they were sure that he would eventually give up, that the process had exhausted itself and that he himself already understood this. After the 2006 elections when the Likud won only 12 seats, the pundits mocked him saying that according to the “influence from within the centers of power” logic of Manhigut Yehudit, Feiglin now had to leave Likud and go to Kadima. After he failed to attain a Knesset seat in 2009, they came down hard on him. The religious columnists specifically lambasted him for his arrogance in running for the Likud leadership time and again, on the non-politically-correct “we have come to replace you” approach against the present Likud leadership. They claimed that Olmert became prime minister only because of him.

And despite all this, as the sand continues to blow, Moshe Feiglin (50) is back, running yet again, this time as the only candidate, this time against a sitting prime minister. In political terms this would be considered suicide, but that’s nothing for Feiglin. This is already his fourth time. The first time, 9 years ago, then again running against a sitting prime minister, he got 3.5% of the vote. Two years later he got 12.5%. In 2007, Likud had primaries once again, where he was granted nearly a quarter of the Likud vote. In Jerusalem, the biggest branch of the ruling party, he got nearly 40% of the vote. He could have even gotten a larger portion, but Netanyahu and his men made a herculean effort to bring their supporters to the polls in order to prevent Feiglin from winning the capital city. Not to mention that in other cities as well that are certainly not settlements, Feiglin achieved impressive results. In Gadera, for example, he got 38% of the vote. In Beit Shemesh, 31%. Yavne, 28%, and even in Haifa he reached 26% support.

They claim that only because of him and Manhigut Yehudit, Sharon decided to leave the Likud and establish Kadima. That Manhigut Yehudit was the only thing preventing the inventor of the concept of Disengagement from taking over Menahem Begin’s historic movement. For these primaries, by the way, he comes armed with surprisingly supportive statements from a Leftist icon, Avrum Burg. Burg, on the “Head to Head” television program on the Knesset channel, said last month that “The only man that presents a serious alternative, and puts forth an organized and relevant political philosophy that is worth contending with and presents a real challenge for us, is Moshe Feiglin.” The conversation we had was a bit harried, since Feiglin was invited to a political event in the Israeli Arab village of Bara. Many Likud voters he probably did not find there, but then again the man is trying to lead the whole country.

Two weeks before primaries where his raising his support level yet again is a real possibility, as the step he told us all to take 13 years ago – joining the Likud party – is making more and more waves in the religious Zionist sector, he is still convinced that a faith based candidacy for leadership of the country is the only viable path capable of stopping the oncoming flood.

Q. Many have followed you into the Likud, and almost all of them have already overtaken you. Hotobeli, Edelstein, and Elkin are all religious Zionists that got close to the leadership thanks in no small part to Manhigut Yehudit voters. They found their way into the coalition table and they are very well licked, while you are excluded.

A. If I would have worked in the normal accepted manner that seeks to get immediate political dividends, no one would have overtaken me, but I insist on remembering the reason I joined the Likud in the first place. Not to be a Knesset Member or even a Minister, but to point the whole country toward one true, large and substantive goal. Light at the end of the tunnel, rather than a rearguard war that many good people in the religious Zionist community are fighting. For the sake of the truth, when I joined politics 13 years ago, there were already many knitted kippot in the crowd, with religious Knesset members and religiously observant ministers. In that sense, the situation has not changed all that much.

My eyes are turned towards the final goal, and because of this there are weights on my legs that may seem to weigh me down in a personal sense from attaining political posts. But in reality, these aren’t weights, but wings I am not willing to cut. I could have said that I would no longer run for the party leadership, that I already did what I had to do, but that would have made the whole revolution culminate in something of a new National Religious Party, this time within the Likud. While true that we did succeed in getting the faith-based public into the Likud, which is something very important that I do not belittle for a second, I will not allow a situation in which we are in the same sectorial politics, but this time within the ruling party. I’m not interested in yet another knitted kippah in the Knesset, even if underneath that kippah is the name of Moshe Feiglin. The goal is to lay out a faith based alternative to lead Israel. This is a goal that cannot be accomplished without a conscious decision to run for the country’s leadership, so that the light will not be extinguished, so that there will still be light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s funny. People that fought against me from every podium when I joined the Likud are now in the Likud and continuing to fight me from within. Effi Etam (former leader of the National Religious Party) and Benny Elon (former member of the National Union) already admitted that I was right, but I’m sad to say that even after they’ve said this, many of us still do not have the courage to come and take the truth to its logical endpoint like I’m doing. I didn’t come to the Likud to save the settlements, even though it’s true that from within the Likud there is a stronger power base to accomplish this than there is in the sectorial parties.

They tell me, “You’re trying to fill shoes that are too big for you,” and I answer, “So come with me and then I’ll have bigger shoes!” The coming elections will be decided by 15,000 votes. The gap between me and Netanyahu last time was about 17,000 votes. If the people that tell me I’m trying to fill shoes that are too big for me would have joined Likud, I would have had no problem winning the party’s leadership by now. More than that though, there would have been no problem changing the entire direction of the Return to Zion from Zionism that keeps God out of the picture, to Zionism with the vision of “The Mountain of the Lord is the highest of all Mountains.” The settlement pioneers that ran to Judea and Samaria in the spirit of Rav Kook have been inundated with hardships and trudging through day-to-day affairs, and are incapable of putting forward such a vision.

But sometimes the arrogance of running against a sitting Prime Minister without even the success of first being elected a Knesset member makes for a very strange impression. Wouldn’t it be better to be satisfied with less declarations, superlatives and unwinnable candidacies and to focus in the meantime on less ambitious goals? We all want there to be Jewish leadership, but the way it’s being done seems too belligerent, a bit pompous.

Let’s not forget that thanks to great arrogance we have made great achievements like the wave of religious Zionists joining the Likud. Had I not dared to run for leadership of the party, such a change in consciousness would never have occurred. The language that changes consciousness is not spoken with lips, but with legs. We codified our vision in the “Lehat’hila” journal long before we joined the Likud, but until the point where we began to walk the walk of politics and put our hat in the leadership ring, it didn’t have any real effect on the nation’s consciousness. Many a good man before us tried to convince the right wing to join the Likud, and the fact is they only succeeded in signup up a few people. The fact is, they were not able to convince the public to follow them, and the reason is that the public follows a vision, and not simple tactical moves. Manhigut Yehudit put forward that vision, and from that moment people began to join the Likud through other avenues besides us as well.

For part two of this interview, click here.

January 25, 2012 | 17 Comments »

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17 Comments / 17 Comments

  1. Ken, you throw around a lot of accusations without any material backing. Do you have anything to point in the general direction of your rant, rather than us just taking your word for it? Up to now, I see Netanyahu playing a game of chess. He is doing a good job at this game, but who says chess is the game that we need to play? Seriously, either put up something concrete or keep your words to yourself, you sound like the media.

  2. I can only thank God that the fate of Israel and the Jewish People are in the hands of responsible and mature Jewish adults like Netanyahu and NOT anywhere near the likes of cowards and provocateurs like Moshe Feiglin and his stooges.
    The truth is that worthless and faithless critics like Moshe Feiglin and his failed policies give a bad name to Jewish nationalism, Judaism in general, and the Jewish State of Israel.
    Israel and the Jews have enough problems without Moshe Feiglin inflicting any more on us.
    Thank God Almighty who in His great wisdom will never ever let a dangerous buffoon like Moshe Feiglin ever lead anyone!

  3. Mr. Besig,
    You do use the coward word quite freely, don’t you? Desist, it really does not aid your abvious assignement dear fellow. Besides besmirching basesly good people you also play the role of visir, predicting future roles for people way above your stature and also mine.
    We have all heard all about “difficult decisions” enough times. Regretfully your lead seems quite prepared to, without solution of continuity, make “difficult decisions” against JEWS and Heritage but seldom if ever against islamic enemies.
    DO please illuminate us all with another pearl of your wisdom Mr. Besig and splain that one a bit.
    Do not expect a response though.I invested too much valuable time with your nonsense.

  4. The fact is that Feiglin has never had nor will he ever have any governmental responsibility or authority, he like you, does have a very big mouth and can criticize everybody who does have the responsibility and authority to take hard and sometimes unpopular decisions.
    Feiglin is a coward and a liar. Instead of even trying to support the Likud which for reasons unknown to me let this clown even claim membership, Feiglin does everything in his limited power to destroy the Likud and make it into a failed and ultimately destructive force in Israeli politics.
    Feglin and people like you claim to be the “true nationalists” and according to your twisted ideology, Netanyahu or anyone who sees Israel as the settlements as well as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva, and the Negev
    are traitors to the “cause.”
    Netanyahu and the Likud have done more to effectively advance the State of Israel and the Jewish People than the self centered and cowardly rabble rousers like Feiglin ever could.
    And that is the real Feiglin problem. Feiglin is all about Feiglin and for him, the Likud and Israel are just vehicles for him to advance his only and most important cause, that is, Moshe Feiglin.

  5. Shalom Mr. Besig,
    Who gave you the harchet? Let me guess… Nah, No need, it is transparent. And so you do not get ovwerly excited. Netanyahu did not receive a majority of mandates in the last election.
    After many years of attempting to make sense of what the likud is, in particular after the Sharon gigantic Party rape, about a month ago I decided to remove myself from the Merkaz and the party as a whole. I remain a Member of the Jabotinski Guard though. I have had enough of seeing the charlatan, (at best), you promote leading shock troops into aasaulting children, women and civilians.
    You or better yet, those like you assured my final decision. A well trained platoon… of raiders turned the Likud, a liberal Nationalist Party, into a MAPAI “B” lite.
    The LIKUD was originally a Nationalist party. Mr Jabotinski and Mr. Begin were not precisely Peresites or aligned with the “shalom achshaf” zombied gangs.
    The Platform of the Likud Mr. Besig completely denies your convulted concepts regarding for what the likud stand or should I say, should stand.
    No connection whatever exists between your desperate perorate and the Platform So far out of context that makes me wonder who do you really represent. (Just kidding…)
    Do not tempt me to disclose some of the ways and means of those you define as “representing” certain subgroups of a destructive, anti-Jewish mob.
    To the best of records and everyone knowledge Mr. Netanyahu either voted for wholesale destruction and abandonment and continued assaults to this day.
    I do not recall Mr. Feiglin destroying anyone’s home or elected position, let alone a party.
    I would suggest to you Mr. Besig to remember the Pogroms designed by your accolites Sharon plus son Omri, Olmert, Ezra,Livni and Netanyahu.
    Please try to focus on facts and illuminate those that consistently supported the formation, training and operation of psychopathic shock troops and I could go further, could we not Mr. Besig?
    BTW. I am not in the LIKUD any longer so I am not campaigning for anyone.

    Just the fact Mr. Besig, just the facts and more to come if you wish.

  6. Moshe Feiglin seems to resent the fact that the Likud has been able to attract voters and be elected to govern Israel without being a far Right, settlement oriented, ultra Orthodox, and looney tune reactionary party.

    The only thing Feiglin resents is the leadership of this country not acting in Jewish best interests. Instead of planning on giving away J & S like Bibi is doing, he is reacting to the nonsensical destruction and evacuation of Jews from their homes. Once in power he could end this stupid dance and stand for something instead of riding the fence and playing both sides.

    I think you’re wrong about what most Israelis and Likudniks think. Most are repelled by leaders who don’t follow the party platform under which they were elected. I sure as hell know that I am and I’m not alone. I think you’re ridiculous with your wondering whether he is a sleeper agent trying to tear down Israel. We don’t have to wonder about those that have come before him, they have made it perfectly clear already.

  7. Moshe Feiglin would destroy the Likud given half a chance. Feiglin is a dangerous and divisive force who is trying to make the Likud into a pseudo National Religious Party, a party I would add that destroyed itself by it’s extreme policies.
    Moshe Feiglin seems to resent the fact that the Likud has been able to attract voters and be elected to govern Israel without being a far Right, settlement oriented, ultra Orthodox, and looney tune reactionary party.
    Most Israelis and most Likud voters are perfectly satisfied with Netanyahu’s polices and his style of management. Most Israelis and most Likud voters realize that Feiglin’s policies are repellant to voters and that his attempt to hijack the Likud is contemptible. If Feiglin wants a far Right, Land Of Israel Party, there are plenty of those available for him to join.
    Feiglin would destroy the Likud and in the process aid the Israeli Left in destroying Israel.
    Indeed, I often wonder if Moshe Feiglin is a Kadima/Meretz/Arab sleeper agent whose plan is not to build Israel but to tear Israel down. Feiglin certainly acts like he wants to put an end to Israel.

  8. I must congratulate you and Moshe and all of those with you.
    I left the LIKUD about a month plus ago naturally also the Central Committee. The LIKUD under Mr. Netanyahu navigating with decidely extreme left wing LINO’s such as Meridor and regretfully anchored on Mr. Begin cannot serve the Jewish people in Eretz Israel any longer, but as they did before with the complicity of courtiers, they will not allow a true to Eretz Israel leadership.
    Their incorporation in the Netanyahu team of a mortal enemy of Eretz Israel such as Barak and his generals is a dark omen to one and all.
    Still, I ferviently hope that Mr. Feiglin makes a great show. He is a good human being and Jewish person.

    SUGESTION: In England the opposition, once it becomes significant, and you are very signicicant, organizes a SHADOW GOVERNMENT, perhaps the time is now to do the same here in preparation for the innevitable end of the unJewish era.

    Isha’ar Koach

  9. The best thing that could happen to the Likud is for Netanyahu to pull a Sharon. Just like squeezing the pus out of a cyst. Ugh. I made myself queasy. 🙁

  10. In the unlikely event he did win, a humiliated Netanyahu would pull a Sharon and establish a new rump party.

    But then we know Bibi is neither principled nor a stickler for the rules.

    Still, Feiglin offers a well-thought out vision for Israel. The corrupt political establishment doesn’t offer one.

    The faithful Jew’s job is serve G-d, challenge injustice and renew the world under G-d’s rule.

    This duty did not begin with Feiglin and it will not end with him, regardless of what happens in the Likud primaries next week.

  11. Thanks for your support, guys!!

    As we need all the help we can get, if you can tell your Likudnik friends to vote for Moshe next week, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, if you can make a donation of any size – from $5 to $10,000, it would also be tremendously appreciated. (As campaigns cost a lot of money.)



  12. All through history it is often the lone, honest, voice that is ridiculed by the establishment because it tells the unpopular truth. Judaism itself began with Abraham, the lone voice. Those who still want to call themselves Jews need to go back to the source, our Torah, and come to terms with its message.

  13. Moshe Feiglin very likely won’t win and won’t become Prime Minister.

    But he’s already changed the debate in Israel just by running for Likud Chairman.

    He’s only one of two people in Israeli politics who is NOT a demagogue or corrupt. The other is Labor’s Shelly Yacomovich.

    The reason Netanyahu fears him is he cannot be bought off or pressured into compromising his views with a Cabinet ministry or a Knesset seat.

    Still, he’ll have a big impact on the Likud. The philosophy he represents has come of age. Others will carry his work forward.