web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


‘We Need To Put The Spirit Back Into The People': An Interview with Arutz Sheva’s Yishai Fleisher


A vigorous advocate of aliyah, Yishai Fleisher uses his position as Internet radio personality and director of programming at Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio to promote the merits of living in the land of Israel. On his popular show “Yishai and Friends,” Fleisher deals with Israeli politics, history and tradition and has interviewed personalities ranging from Dutch politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders to actor Jon Voight.

Fleisher, a graduate of Cardozo School of Law, is also director of Kumah, an organization dedicated to encouraging Jewish immigration to Israel. An address by Fleisher to the Knesset Absorption Committee helped lead to the establishment of International Aliyah Day in 2008, five years after he himself made aliyah and settled with his family in Beit El.

The Jewish Press: How did your background contribute to your Zionist beliefs?

Fleisher: I was born in Haifa to Russian refusenik parents who came to Israel in the early 1970s. While in Russia, my mother was constantly being interrogated by the KGB and my father was imprisoned for Jewish activities. They managed to get out and were great Zionists who raised me with lots of love for the land. That set the tone for the rest of my life.

When I was eight, we moved to America due to economic considerations and became close to Yiddishkeit. I ended up going to an Israeli Hesder yeshiva in Ma’ale Adumim when I was seventeen, served as a paratrooper with the IDF and was injured in Lebanon. I returned to America but, after finishing up law school, came to the conclusion that the center for the Jewish future is not going to be in New York. The center for the Jewish future is in Israel. It was time to come back home.

You started Kumah, a self-described “neo-Zionist lobby.” What is the aim of this organization and how do you explain its slogan?

Kumah is a revivalist movement with a classic message for the Jewish people. To me Zionism is the yearning of the Jewish people to come back to the land of Israel with the creation of the Jewish commonwealth and the era of the third Temple. It’s a renewal of lost values, and an answer to post-Zionism. If post-Zionism is the theory that Israel was created and the project is now finished, then neo-Zionism states that we are far from done with the project. The Jewish people are not yet back home, and we have yet to educate Jews to the concept of living a Torah life in the land of Israel.

Rather than the idea that the Zionist project has been completed, isn’t post-Zionism more a negative spin on the nature of Zionism?

No question about it. Post-Zionists are anti-Zionists. There are a few of them that are real leftists – a people who care about social rights, the environment and such. I should really be considered left wing because I care about the rights of the aboriginal people to come back to live in their homeland, i.e., the Jewish people to live in their homeland. This tiny minority of people fighting against the UN, the EU and the U.S. is really the epitome of what the left should represent – protecting the weak. That’s why I really don’t use the term right and left anymore. I think better terms are nationalists versus post-Zionists.

How do you view your position as Arutz Sheva radio host?

I do not sit around all day complaining about the Israeli government. My job as I see it is to fight cynicism. I see so much cynicism, so many people not seeing that we are living in amazing times. I am the head of the radio department, a job that I see as all about sharing ideas and a spirit, and we’ve been pushing aliyah with a lot of success. We got halfway done with bringing Jews home and creating the state of Israel. What’s so ironic is that at this time, with so much foundation for Israel to be that amazing thing called the “light unto the nations,” suddenly the motivation and the ideology have totally bottomed out. We need to put the spirit back into the people and get through this [negative] husk that has been put over our eyes.

Do you see Arutz Sheva’s nationalist ideology driving many of its news stories?

I think Arutz Sheva has an agenda and a perspective. But I respect Arutz Sheva for not masking that or hiding it under the guise of objectivity, like Haaretz for example, which is really the mouthpiece for post-Zionism. The media is not this god of objectivity – that’s a lie. To think that The New York Times is objective is a farce. It’s much more honest for us to say we have a nationalist perspective.

Would you agree that the Israeli government’s decision to shut down Arutz Sheva as a radio station in 2003 highlights a systemic and one-sided problem of freedom of the press in Israel?

No doubt about it. Arutz Sheva was shut down for a reason, in order to stop its perspective from getting out. Its perspective was painted as violent and inciteful, but nothing could be further from the truth. Arutz Sheva’s perspective is one of love of Jews and patriotism. It was shut down months before the Disengagement was announced, and that is not a coincidence. Ariel Sharon understood the power of Arutz Sheva, which was giving people what they want – a true, proud Hebrew and Jewish culture. It was cut off to stifle that opinion.

A free press is the cornerstone of an open and vibrant democratic society. Here in Israel, every time there’s any move toward free press, they clamp right down on it.

In the face of Israel’s uphill battle on so many fronts, what advice would you offer Jews living in Israel and those contemplating aliyah?

Even though there is so much wrong here, it is incumbant upon Jews not to give up on this country; we all need to say, “I’m going for the long haul.”

I was born in this time to fight this battle and help Israel get through this phase. Every indicator out there [pushes] us to give up on this country. That’s exactly what the terrorists want, and that’s exactly what we have to fight against.

About the Author: Sara Lehmann, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, was formerly an editor at a major New York publishing house.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘We Need To Put The Spirit Back Into The People': An Interview with Arutz Sheva’s Yishai Fleisher”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

More Articles from Sara Lehmann
Lehmann-Sara-logo

Despite efforts to revive Jewish cultural life in Poland, which has met with a measure of success and support from Polish officials, Poland still remains a virtual graveyard of its prewar glory days.

Lehmann-Sara-logo

One look at the breakdown of competing parties in the Israeli elections lends credibility to the old joke of two Jews and three shuls.

The fact that a congresswoman and head of the DNC felt the need to recant what is obvious and at the same time threatening to American Jews is more of a commentary on the state of American Jewry and less on the dishonesty of a dithering politician.

In his September speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to that fox when he compared Iran to the Nazis.

It is hard to believe that only one hundred years ago religion played such a central and accepted role in the personal and governmental lives of American citizens that its invocation was standard.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

What’s important is to make the case for Israel more forcefully and to give it the articulation that the next presidential candidates ought to have.

From Obamacare to Common Core to gay marriage, radical agendas are pushed through the legal system.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/we-need-to-put-the-spirit-back-into-the-people-an-interview-with-arutz-shevas-yishai-fleisher/2010/02/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: