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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘feiglin’

Excerpts From My First Knesset Speech

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

I have listened to all of [this new Knesset’s] debut speeches: excellent speeches, some of them virtuoso speeches. But when I listened to your speech, [Yesh Atid] MK Mickey Levy, a former police major general, a person who I was used to seeing on the other side of a great divide – you as a police officer; myself as a protester – when you spoke about how you lost your brother in the Jordan Valley, my heart skipped a beat.

I was a young platoon commander on duty in a reserve unit. A new regiment commander had been assigned to our regiment and the commander came to visit our position in the Jordan Valley. He asked me, in front of my soldiers, if all was well.

“No,” I answered.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Look over there,” I said to him. “Anybody can cross over that bridge and continue up that path there, hidden from view, come around the back of our position, enter without anybody even noticing, and shoot.”

Much to my surprise, the regiment commander became furious. He admonished me in front of my astounded soldiers and angrily left our position. I was confused. “He probably knows something that I don’t know,” I said to myself, putting the incident out of my head.

Our tour of duty finished. I came home. Approximately one year later, I heard that an IDF soldier was killed at that position in the Jordan Valley, precisely as I had warned. And here, Mickey, in our opening speeches in the 19th Knesset, this story has come full circle. (Editor’s note: At this point, Mickey Levy wiped tears from his face).

My heart ached. I was terribly angry at myself. I should have protested, left my position against the rules, and demanded the attention of the brigade commander. I should never have believed that my commanding officer knew something that I didn’t know.

Remember, members of the 19th Knesset, that when we adopt somebody else’s worldview, we betray our duty. The agenda in which we believe is our responsibility and our authority, and we must do all we can to bring it to fruition.

A few years later, the Oslo Accords came into our world. Once again, I clearly saw the catastrophe about to happen. I saw the thousands of victims and, even worse, the loss of legitimacy for our very right to exist as a state. For if you recognize the “Organization for the Liberation of the Land of Israel from its Jews” – the PLO – what can you possibly claim?

This time, I did not remain silent. The entire country stood and cheered the emperor’s new clothes and I insisted on telling the truth.

The civil disobedience we adopted in the Zo Artzeinu protests was the greatest display of liberty and democracy that the state of Israel has ever known. Unfortunately, those protests did not stop the Oslo Accords or the destruction of Gush Katif. Even though Tel Aviv is now targeted from the ruins of Gush Katif, the Oslo worm continues to destroy us from inside. Today, as we speak, Israeli forces are destroying Ma’ale Rehavam.

When, against all odds, we managed to restore the Likud and the national camp to power in 1996, it turned out that the Right really didn’t have an alternative to Oslo. Then I understood that the debate is not really between Right and Left. It is not a debate over territory. It is a debate of identity. It is a debate between the Jew and the Israeli. The fact that the Right ascends to power is not enough to stop the deterioration. It is imperative to infuse our national conversation with Jewish meaning and content.

Two thousand years ago, we went into exile and it was not at all clear how we would survive without the Holy Temple – bereft of the authentic Jewish culture of a nation in its homeland. Then the Jewish nation invented the most successful start-up in history. It is called the Jewish religion. Judaism, which is much more than just a religion, discarded its territorial dimension and became something adaptable to the individual, the family and the community, something that can be packed into a knapsack and moved to a new place every time the Jews had to flee violence and pogroms. Religion became the lifeline of the Jews in exile.

Will the Likud Remain Democratic?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

One piece of political news that probably went unnoticed to most, especially among all the coalition-negotiation rumors, was that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering cancelling the Likud’s primaries.

An article about this was first published on Jan. 28th,  just after the Knesset election on Israel’s Walla news site. Then, over the last few days it sprung up again in Ma’ariv/NRG and Yediot. Another Feb. 10 article in Ma’ariv claims that the Prime Minister intends to have the primaries cancelled before ministers are sworn into the government – that is, potentially in a matter of weeks.

To most people this is just internal party politics, but it’s really not. It directly affects the democratic nature of the State of Israel. In Israel, voters do not choose individual candidates, they choose slates. In effect, there are 120 legislators, but not a single representative. The candidates themselves are chosen via internal party processes – sometimes by a committee – a larger “central committee” or a smaller secretariat or selection committee – sometimes by the chairman, sometimes by the membership in an open primary. Those primaries are the only opportunity a citizen has to vote for an actual legislator, the only time a legislator directly faces a citizen and is held accountable for his record.

Unfortunately, only a few parties hold primaries. Likud and Labor do. This past election cycle, the Jewish Home held primaries, but only half of its list was chosen in the primaries, the rest by the central committee of T’kuma/the National Union. Kadima held primaries for its chairman, but cancelled its primaries for its list because it was expected to only get a maximum of 3 seats (in the end it got two). In total, about 42-3 Members of Knesset were chosen in primaries, meaning about  1/3rd of Knesset Members were chosen by actual people and not by party bosses. Even more unfortunate, is the fact that only a small percentage, something like three percent, of the public is eligible to vote in a party primary, and even less actually do vote.

But still it’s a start. If Israel won’t change over to a district-based electoral system (one representative per district), the only hope for the Members of Knesset being chosen by the people is through the primaries.

The alleged reason for cancelling primaries is, reportedly, that there are those who believe that the Likud’s list was too right-wing and that cost it votes and at the same time, not all party members voted for the party. Or in other words, the “settlers” registered to the party to push candidates like Tzipi Hotovely, Danny Danon, Ze’ev Elkin, Yariv Levin and Moshe Feiglin. The problem with that allegation is that there are many factions within the party who behave this way (like unions and members registered by vote contractors); there probably was a higher voting rate among settlers who were registered for the Likud then those who weren’t;  and of the 11 seats the Likud-Beytenu list lost from its prior standing the Knesset, seven mandates worth of votes went to the right. Any internal party player, especially the Prime Minister knows all this.

It is true though that the primaries are intensely manipulated – by the various factions/MKs/branch chairmen/vote contractors (vote contracting, as I have explained elsewhere refers to the practice of registering people to the party and then kind of bargaining with their votes for personal gain). This is a huge problem. But this manipulation can only take place because so few people are registered to the party. Many of them are registered by internal players, who can trade on their votes.

If, on the other hand, a million or 500,000 people  instead of 120,000 were registered to the Likud, and those people were registered by the party itself and not for any specific internal party player, it would be too hard for any vote contractor or even group, such as a union, to register and control the numbers necessary to manipulate the system. Vote contracting in its current powerful form, would be a thing of the past.

That would require an immense registration effort by the party over several years. That is very possible. In Israel, however, long term solutions, are not the preferred solutions. It’s easier and more seductive to maneuver one’s way to power, which in this case may mean canceling the primaries and concentrate power in the hands of an even smaller group of people.

Moshe Feiglin’s Got Something Up his Sleeve on Pollard

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

In an interview today on Galei Yisrael, Feiglin hinted that he has something planned for Obama’s trip regarding freeing Jonathan Pollard. At the very end of the interview, the journalist asked if he can share what he has up his sleeve.

Feiglin answered, “Do you want Pollard, or do you want a headline?”

“Are they mutually exclusive?” the interviewer asked.

“In this case they could be, so I’d rather keep it quiet.”

Let’s see what Moshe does when his good friend Barack Obama shows up to say hello. Could be interesting. Listen to the whole interview here.

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A Nation’s Search For Meaning

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, renowned psychologist Victor Frankel attributed his survival in the death camps to his feeling that his life had meaning. Those who lost that feeling of significance died.

It is not only people who need a sense of meaning; nations also need it – particularly the nation of Israel.

The search for meaning was the undercurrent that inspired last week’s elections. It wasn’t the economy or security. It certainly wasn’t the universal draft issue.

“Zionism has nothing to do with religion,” declared the First Zionist Congress. In a way, the Congress was right. Religion suits the community or family structure. It is a type of mobile Judaism that can be packed into one’s knapsack after the inevitable pogrom. Return to sovereign statehood requires much more than religion: It requires a return to an all-inclusive Jewish culture.

What content has filled the renewal of Zion in our days? We all know that without some common vision, society disintegrates. What meaning will there be to our national renaissance without the foundations of our shared faith?

All the debates at the start of Zionism revolved around that question. The Socialists won in a knockout. It was the Labor Party that presided over the establishment of the state of Israel and led it until the mid-‘70s. The Right never put forth an alternative vision. It adhered to the practical aspects of Zionism – settlement and security – without ever attempting to infuse meaning into its actions. Socialism collapsed along with the Soviet Union in the ‘80s, and when the Left was elected to lead Israel in the ‘90s, it rode the wave of “international brotherhood” alone. The socialist vision was replaced with the peace vision.

Twenty years later, we are at the end of the Oslo era. Israeli society has suffered a bloody awakening from the peace illusion, the public arena is void of any vision, and our national soul thirsts for meaning. It turns out that our national existence has no meaning if it is detached from its foundations in Jewish identity and faith – interwoven with modernity.

The Likud – the nationalist party with the glorious history, Jabotinsky’s teachings, and the popular connection to Jewish tradition – has all that it needs to infuse our society with meaning. But all of those important components were tucked out of sight in last week’s elections. The fact that the Likud did not even publicize its platform was no mistake: “We’re going to win anyway, so why get into arguments?” was the dubious logic behind that decision. And the nationalist ruling party turned itself into a party of suit-wearers with a negative campaign and no message or meaning.

On both sides of the Likud, parties that proposed a new agenda flourished. They have not yet infused their messages with real meaning, but at least one of them, Jewish Home, provided the scent of Jewish content as it quickly climbed to a projected 18 seats in the polls (it won 12 seats in the elections) – almost half of its support coming from non-observant voters.

Initially, the public was surprised when polls showed that a large number of voters were debating between Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. Likud consultants expected the base attack on the Jewish Home to bring six secular mandates back to the Likud – but that didn’t happen. The Likud, which had fled from its own message and did not provide society with any type of meaning, did not garner those votes. If the Jewish agenda was suddenly unacceptable, those voters could easily vote for lack of meaning in more attractive packaging. No need to go back to voting for the lack of meaning offered by the old suits.

That is how Lapid’s party became the second largest party in Israel, while the Likud found itself shrunk and hunkering down between two fresh-faced parties advocating a new national agenda: one a civil agenda, and the other a Jewish-oriented agenda. Neither party provides meaning at this point. They are both too preoccupied with the “how” and not the “why” or “to where.”

If we in the Likud will understand the deep reason for our party’s decline; if we will refresh our ranks and provide the public with a new vision and a national answer to the “why” and “to where” – we will retrieve the votes that went to our younger sisters, and continue to securely lead Israel with our national vision.

The Temple as Political Satire on Eretz Nehederet

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Eretz Nehedert satire program decided the best way to knock the Right was to have the Temple as a back drop and Ayelet Shaked draped over the Ark of the Covenant with Miri Regev, Tzipi Hotovely, Moshe Feiglin and others gathered around.

‘Yair Lapid’, asked by Bibi if he didn’t mind the Temple service, said, “sure, why not have a barbeque”.

Another screen shot:

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the Temple becoming a central element in  the public discourse.

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Voting for Bennett Is Sectoral, for Likud National

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It is amazing to see how the same people can be deceived time and again.

The two new stars of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked – both fine and worthy people – were preparing themselves to run for a place on the Likud Knesset list. This time, though, the competition for a realistic place on the list was very tight. It was clear that the chances to get on the national list were slim. And so the well-orchestrated political exit of Bennett and Shaked – wrapped in Manhigut Yehudit terminology – was born. Their move, however, was the complete opposite of Manhigut Yehudit’s ideology. It was a patently sectoral move.

The struggle for the votes of the religious Zionists currently revolves around two parameters: Who will give more to the sector and who will better protect the land of Israel. Both of these parameters are an illusion. They divert the discussion to an irrelevant place and deflect attention from the main point of the debate. In both parameters, the advantage of a significant faith-based power base within the ruling party is clear and unequivocal. It has also proven itself well in the reality of the last four years. Real power cannot be acquired without the true integration that was expressed in the recent Likud primaries.

Why does the education minister send all Israeli students to the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron? Because of the members of the Jewish Home Party? Why does the transportation minister pave every road he can in Judea and Samaria? Because of Jewish Home MK Uri Orbach?

The above discussion is really nothing more than a smokescreen. If someone thinks that he can get more for his sector with the services of a sectoral middleman instead of with a direct and binding connection with the relevant minister – so be it. Whoever thinks that he can better protect the land of Israel from within a satellite party that is already committed to joining a coalition with the ruling party – and that has no other option – can go right ahead. Whoever has forgotten where the Jewish Home’s predecessor, the Mafdal, with its 12 mandates, was during the destruction of Sinai; how the Mafdal minister defused the political option for preventing the destruction of Gush Katif; how the Yesha Council – from where the current head of the Bayit Hayehudi came – sidelined an effective struggle against the destruction; and whoever has forgotten the entire sad history of sectoral politics, is invited to once again enjoy himself in the sectoral backyard.

The real discussion, however, revolves around a completely different point.

In a panel discussion at the Nechalim Yeshiva, Orbach asked me who would ensure that the next chief rabbi would be a Zionist – the Likud or the Mafdal? This question perfectly illuminates the two paths open now before the religious Zionist public. What is your dream? What is really important to you? A chief rabbi who sees eye to eye with you on the issues? Or a prime minister who believes in what you believe? All the other questions – like where you will get more funding (I think the answer is the Likud) – are irrelevant.

Look at yourself in the mirror and answer honestly – and then vote. But no putting your head in the sand, no buying the line that a new, improved Mafdal middleman with a secular fig leaf has suddenly morphed into the Likud and will lead the country. Ask yourself this question: What is your dream? Then choose between these next two questions: Is it leadership of the country like you were supposed to have been taught over the years? Or is it the comfort and familiarity of your sector?

What do you prefer, the chief rabbi or the prime minister? Do you believe that you have something other than religion to offer Israeli society? What is the relevance of your Torah outside your closed communities? What do you communicate about yourselves and your beliefs when you flee the Israeli reality for the fenced-in sector? What message do you project when you are afraid to present Israeli society with a leadership alternative based on your beliefs?

Naftali Bennett and the Mafdal’s Last Hurrah

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Those of us who really believe Moshe Feiglin can and will lead Israel and the Jewish Nation to liberty by becoming Prime Minister have this refrain. We always say that we’re not trying to lead the Dati Leumi, or the Religious Zionist sector. We are not a sector, we do not believe in sectors, and we try to speak to the Jewish nation qua nation and leave sectors aside. We want to lead everyone and free everyone. Not lead a sector and try to cut off a hunk of publicly funded steak and bring it home to a ravenous constituency starved for tax-funded whatevers.

But even those of us with our eye on the ball sometimes lose focus for a second and get sucked back into the “sector” that we supposedly “came from,” which in most cases is the Religious Zionist sector, the srugim, or whatever you want to call them.

We see in the polls that Naftali Bennett has totally revived the old Mafdal. He’s a new exciting guy, served in Tzahal as commander of a bunch of important stuff and did heroic things and whatnot just like Ehud Barak of the new up-and-coming then out-and-going Atzmaut (literally, “Forget Labor”) Party. He was a highly successful career man and made a skrillion dollars just like Yair Lapid of the new up-and-coming and soon to be out-and-going Yesh Lapid (literally “There is Lapid”) Party. Or was it two skrillion? I don’t remember exactly. And he can talk oh…soooo…smoothly…in perfect American English…with a perfect American accent…that’s so seductive…just like…

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mafdal, or Bayit Yehudi, or whatever you want to call it, might get a bunch of seats. Maybe 10. Maybe 15. Maybe 20. It doesn’t make the least bit of difference. Why? Because Naftali Bennett is nothing but a new Netanyahu with a kippah on. He has no conviction about anything but he can talk as if he almost does. For example, he can say contradictory things like, “A soldier should never have to choose between expelling a human being from his home and disobeying orders,” and then end it with, “A soldier should never disobey orders under any circumstances,” and state both mutually contradictory statements together with the same conviction, thereby effectively saying absolutely nothing, but making people think he has.

And then, as if he didn’t contradict himself at all, he’ll go on in the very next sentence and challenge his twin, Benjamin Netanyahu, to state publicly if he plans on expelling people from their homes again or not, as if trying to fork another politician will take the attention away from the fact that he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too as well. Well, Bennett, my little Bibi with a Kippah, if he does, what will you do? All you’ve told us is you hope it won’t happen. But what will you do? Support private property or support immoral orders?

Bennett’s long term plan is genius. Get this: He wants to wait for the Arabs to “calm down”. Of course this isn’t what Israel has already been doing since Oslo. Inspiring. That’s it! They have to “calm down”! Why didn’t we think of this before! When I think of Jewish History and our job on this planet and the reason we came back to Israel after millenia of exile, I think of Arabs “calming down,” and when I picture calm Arabs, I get this kind of religious messianic zeal. Thanks Bennett. You have a very nice kippah and a cool buzz cut.

And his slogan: “Something new is beginning.” Yes, something new indeed. Bibi now has a kippah. That’s new. And the new Bibi  says right wing sounding rhetoric without committing to any actual positions and wants to wait things out until the Arabs “calm down”. New Indeed.

Now, back to why it makes absolutely no difference how many seats the Mafdal gets. It doesn’t matter because the only interesting thing that is going to come out of this Knesset will be the Knesset speeches and Knesset actions of Moshe Feiglin from within the Likud slate. He’s going to be in the Knesset. Nothing can stop that. Likud isn’t going down to 20 seats under any circumstances. From that podium, from that pulpit, Feiglin will speak about liberty and Jewish values and Jewish leadership. And the Jewish Nation will listen. And he’ll say actual things that don’t contradict themselves. And when Netanyahu tries to do something stupid, he will fight tooth and nail and probably get sanctioned in some way or another, and he won’t be invited into Bibi’s little circle, and if he is named as a Minister he may get fired, and if he doesn’t get fired and Bibi tries to expel someone from their home, he’ll resign, and it’ll be great.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/israel-elections-5773/naftali-bennett-and-the-mafdals-last-hurrah/2012/12/23/

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