Photo Credit: Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin

Last week, Israel’s security strategy collapsed before our very eyes. The strategy that had served as the foundation for Israel’s policies on the Iranian nuclear threat – to essentially transfer the responsibility to deal with Iran to the Western powers – was decimated. It is time to wake up and smell the Iranian coffee.

I have warned for years of the dangers of this erroneous strategy and have attempted to propose an alternative outlook. When the “Iranian Munich Agreement” was signed recently in Geneva – an agreement that any rational person understands will lead to a nuclear Iran – I hoped that we would at least witness some kind of sobering, some sort of willingness to listen to a different approach. But it soon became clear that I was mistaken. The headlines during the week whereby we came face to face with the fact that we are bequeathing to our children a state under an Iranian nuclear threat were mostly about the moral failings of a popular local singer. If iconic Israeli singer Arik Einstein hadn’t died suddenly during the week, we would still be muddling our way through that filth.


Before we address the issue, we must understand the source of the public’s apathy. Why bother to address the danger and suggest solutions if nobody is listening?

Apparently, Israeli society is informed by a number of layers of consciousness:

The first and most basic layer is that the public generally has difficulty containing strategic danger. Mundane dangers – economic or health lapses, for example – frighten us more because they are palpable.

As a result of this first layer, the public prefers to rely on its leaders. On the surface, they – and only they – are privy to the relevant information. It is more comfortable for the public to leave the deliberations on Iran far from the public eye. That is the second layer.

The third layer is the wall-to-wall strategic consensus that buries any real public debate on the most serious threat to the existence of our state. Not one opposition leader, from the Right or Left, has attempted to dispute the erroneous strategy on Iran. On the contrary, they have all seen the passing of the buck to the world’s doorstep as a great and praiseworthy achievement. Criticism, if any, is on the way that this strategy is implemented – not on the strategy itself.

In other words, the public’s approach to the Iranian threat is this: We have no desire to deal with this. It is more comfortable for us to not know and to rely instead on the leaders. After all, the opposition thinks so as well.

If this approach prevails, we can be sure that Israel will continue to march blindly toward a nuclear Iran. Iran will become the new Salah ad-Din of the Arab world and will unite the collapsing Middle East under its hegemony. It will force our children to wage the most horrific of wars to restore the existential security that Israel’s founding generations bequeathed us with their blood.

The more severe scenario of a nuclear Iran is that the Iranians will not even need to go to war. We already see the loosened sanctions against Iran, while Israel surrendered to European pressure. A united Iranian Middle East boasting nuclear capabilities will lead to Israel’s isolation and the disintegration of the remnants of its sovereignty.

So where did we go wrong?

We erred in our understanding of the threat and in the way we dealt with it.

The technical Iranian nuclear capability is subordinate to the deep, fundamental Iranian threat. The state of Israel, founded on the ashes of the crematoria, made sure to bring every VIP who landed at its airport directly to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. Israel positioned itself as the answer to the threat of Jewish destruction. Sadly, Israel based its raison d’etre on the fact that it empowers the Jewish nation to defend itself. But at the moment of truth, when once again the leader of a strong and significant nation arose and threatened us with destruction, the Jews ran to the U.S. and British air forces for protection. If that is the case, the world’s nations ask us why we need a state?

When the world first heard former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to destroy Israel, it anticipated an immediate Israeli response. But when nothing happened, the world internalized the changed Israeli paradigm. It understood that it was no longer motivated by the same model that served Menachem Begin when he attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. The world once again began to see the Jews as the problem. The question mark hovering over the very existence of Israel began to grow.

The famous red line drawn by Prime Minister Netanyahu is erroneous. The Holocaust did not begin in 1939 with the start of World War II. The Holocaust began in 1933 with Hitler’s threats to destroy the Jews. The technical destruction was made possible by the process of de-legitimization that the mad leader created – unchecked. It is not the percentage of enrichment, but the speeches threatening destruction. It is not the Iranian atom bomb (that must be dealt with, of course) but the Iranian regime. We crossed that red line long ago.

Netanyahu was right to announce that Israel is not bound by the Geneva Agreement. But the way that we have conducted ourselves with the agreement’s crafters shows that we still suffer from the same mistaken conception that has brought us to the brink of the abyss. Israel must remove itself from any continued cooperation or liaison with the world on Iran and make it clear that from now on, it is solely responsible to find the solution.

If Netanyahu does not want a nuclear Iran to emerge on his watch, he has no choice but to revert to Menachem Begin’s strategy.

This column was translated from the Hebrew version, which appeared in Makor Rishon.


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Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He heads the Zehut Party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


  1. Why are you referring to "Iran"? Everyone is talking about "Iran". But, "Iran" is NOT the name of the country! The official name of that country is "The Islamic Republic of Iran", and there is a world of difference between "Iran" as a nation state, and "The Islamic Republic of Iran." "The Islamic Republic of Iran" is not a nation state in the normal sense of that term. The difference is clear from the Preamble of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, one part of which reads as follows: "An Ideological Army In the formation and equipping of the country’s defense forces, due attention must be paid to faith and ideology as the basic criteria. Accordingly, the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are to be organized in conformity with this goal, and they will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world (this is in accordance with the Koranic verse “Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and strings of horses, striking fear into the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them.” [8.60])"

    To ask the Ayatollahs to give up their ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons is to ask them to violate their Constitution and their Koran which requires them to acquire "whatever force you are able to muster", — and that includes nuclear weapons! — in order to extend Sharia law throughout the world. They will not violate their constitution and their religion. It won't happen. Negotiations and this “deal” are worse than fruitless because they give the ayatollahs time to acquire their nuclear weapons. And then it will be too late. Kerry, of course, understands none of this. You can be sure that he has never troubled himself to read the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  2. This is the test, are we winners or losers? If we want to continue as the Jewish people, with moral purpose, we must assert our rights through resistance. ACTION.

    Nothing has changed since 1933, its the Jew hatred but now it an attack on our political power as a modern nation, (P.C.) but it is the same Jew hatred that wot Europe during Hitler's reign.

  3. This is the test, are we winners or losers? If we want to continue as the Jewish people, with moral purpose, we must assert our rights through resistance. ACTION.

    Nothing has changed since 1933, its the Jew hatred but now it an attack on our political power as a modern nation, (P.C.) but it is the same Jew hatred that wot Europe during Hitler's reign.

  4. How to change the regime other than breaking it economically as BIBI was successfully getting done, until the latest Geneva disaster. The sanctions worked. Now what? Right now the Mullahs are heroes, they got the sanctions lifted and will become a nuclear power in the region. The list of countries are lining up to do business, so she will soon be flowing in cash with which to finance a conventional weapons arsenal and the erecting of the delivery system for her nuke warheads.

  5. I agree, Begin said control the land, not the inhabitants. Maybe, maybe not. If they act up, they can be forced to leave, they are Jordanian nationals after all, they have citizenship rights there. The land cannot be given up, for various reasons, one being that Judea and Samaria is a pipeline through which arabs come from all over the ME. This land cannot be in the conrol of anyone but Israel. The entire state depends on this being treated as sacrosanct land.

  6. NEVER have the Arabs had legal rights to the land in question. Any respecting Jew and Jewess understands that it is far worse to suffer loss of our national pride, through humiliation by the enemy, because for that sin, of self abasement, or self hatred, we shall surely suffer a thousand deaths. Better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

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