I got back from voting this morning in Karnei Shomron. Some of it is a very different feeling from last time, and some is the same. What’s different is there is not much a sense of urgency that Feiglin get on the list this time. There are no T-shirts, a little less excitement, and a general malaise as to why the Likud is doing this again. Feiglin is not running for Likud Chairman so this is all a bit dull. The point of Moshe getting on the list in the first place was for people to get to know him. Now they do. Getting back in is less important, because when the SHTF, the people now know who to turn to, regardless of whether he’s in this time or not.
What’s the same is the same exasperated feeling that all these people, all these politicians, all these sign waving sheep have no idea what they are saying or why. This may as well all be in a schoolyard playground as we all huddle around the “popular kids” none of whom know what is about to hit them. I feel like I’m in a Vonnegutian timequake surrounded by walking primates pushing platitudes, none of which mean anything at all.
My phone has been so inundated with mindless text messages that I turned it off. This game is so tiring, emotionally draining, and I feel dirty playing it. It’s as if I was forced into a kindergarten, into the body of a 5 year old, and told I had to pick 11 snot-nosed kids to run the country. I want to say something intelligent to the children so they stop acting like such idiots, but I know they’re all 5-year-olds and they won’t understand a word I’m saying. The kids all team up making “deals” with one another and I have to go along with this mindless board game. So I just pick 11 of them and go home.
The system is probably coming down sometime this year. I don’t know how bad it will get but the catalysts are all lined up. Oil could do it. Greece could do it. Russia could do it. The amount of investment the US has made in shale oil is enormous, on par with the investment in real estate before that crashed and brought the financial system to its knees. Billions in loans were given to shale companies that can now no longer repay them. We’ll start to see this infecting the banks pretty soon. From there, whoever is on the Likud list will not like the boat they’re sailing.
Yes, I hope Feiglin makes it on in a high spot. But if he doesn’t, I’ll know he’s been saved from getting on this ride until the boat sinks. It could go either way, and whatever happens, God will sort it out.
I’ll just say, I doubt there is any “political activist” in the entire country that loathes election day as much as I do.
I was as surprised as anyone else when I saw the news this morning that Feiglin dropped out of the race for Likud chairman to focus on getting a top 10 spot on the Knesset list. I spoke with him this morning for a few minutes and while I don’t agree with the decision, there is something cooking. That’s all I will say. This happened after a 5-judge panel on the Likud court accepted Netanyahu’s appeal to unite the Knesset list and chairmanship races on the same day, despite this being against the Likud constitution. Any American libertarian will know how useless constitutions are in terms of stopping government power anyway.
Here’s what I think goes down from here. First, speaking for myself, I will not be voting for any party in the general elections on March 17th. I will be taking a trip to Bnei Brak that morning to visit the Satmars along with a fellow non-voting Satmar friend of mine, hand in my Teudat Zehut and driver’s license, and take the $100 promised me by Teitelbaum not to vote. So will my wife, and $200 is not bad for a day’s not-voting. I wasn’t going to vote anyway even without the money. The money is just an extra perk I may as well take.
Say what you want about the Satmar and I certainly do not subscribe to their lifestyle, but they do not accept government money. They and I are on the same wavelength there, and I highly respect them for that.
I refuse to vote for my own slavemaster. I will also not vote against Likud out of respect for Moshe.
Though I will be voting for Moshe Feiglin, Amir Weitmann, and Shay Malka for the Knesset list in the primaries on December 31. I will fill the rest of the slate with no-name candidates with no chance. I will not vote for any incumbents, period, not Yariv Levin, not Hotobeli, not Danon, not Edelstein, nobody, nor anybody that Manhigut Yehudit makes any deal with. Forget it. I’m sick of the games. As for Likud Chairman, I will write in none other than Ron Paul, just because.
Beyond that, my not voting it is a tactical move. Bibi has to lose these elections. He cannot be Prime Minister again. When he loses, he will be blamed, and rightly so. He will then resign, following which Feiglin will run, and win. A monetary crisis will arise, new elections will be called, and in the midst of the crisis he will take the reigns. I hope I’m right. I am not a profit.
I only hope that this is not a case of what happened in this week’s Parasha.
ויהי מקץ שנתיים ימים. Why did it take two years? Because Yosef lacked faith and asked the butler for a favor. I would have liked to see Moshe run anyway, even if it risked his Knesset seat, because in my opinion it doesn’t matter if he gets into the Knesset or not this time.
And that’s OK. Because what matters now is that Netanyahu goes down. His time is up.
First of all, last week a Mercaz meeting was called that took place in Ariel. I was not there, but a neighbor of mine who is a Mercaz member described what happened as completely insane. Danon, who headed the meeting as chairman, completely and totally ignored those present. Apparently, he even hired 15 bodyguards during the meeting to ensure he wouldn’t be physically mobbed. He was booed fiercely by the crowd because they had voted down Netanyahu’s proposals, which where three:
To push up the primaries to December 31 from January 6.
To unite the Chairman and Knesset List elections and hold them on the same day.
To allow Netanyahu to personally name 2 of his lackeys to the list.
The crowd was clearly against it, but Danon called for a secret ballot on the matter, which requires a certain amount of signatures which were not collected. The vote was appealed by Feiglin since there were no signatures for it, but that appeal was overruled.
Then Netanyahu “won” the vote 1567 to 835, because the ones that don’t show up to Mercaz meetings are the ones that support him, because they’re lazy, whereas we Feiglinites are motivated up the wazoo and would show up to a Mercaz meeting in Ramallah if we had to.
So, Feiglin and his sidekick Michael Fuah, a Manhigut Yehudit cofounder and the political brains behind the whole operation starting from the late 90’s, appealed to the Likud court again, but this time the appeal was a bit different.
The Likud Constitution states that the Knesset list election and the Chairmanship elections must take place on different dates. It also says that Knesset list elections must be “fair and equal”, which precludes Netanyahu from naming them personally. So, in order to change the Likud Constitution, you need a two-thirds majority. Count 1567 to 835 and it’s 41 votes shy of that majority.
The appeal is basically saying that since Netanyahu did not get his two-thirds majority, he in effect lost and cannot name candidates to the list, nor hold chairmanship and list primaries on the same day.
Now, even though a final decision from the court has not come in yet, it seems that Netanyahu is really nervous about this, because his men are talking personally with Fuah to find a compromise before the court rules.
This comes as an especially sweet victory for me because I remember four and a half years ago the Mercaz vote to postpone Mercaz elections. Netanyahu wanted to postpone the Mercaz elections precisely because he knew he’d lose control of it, and Netanyahu won that vote by getting over two-thirds to then change the constitution.
I remember going home that day after hanging out at the Herzliya Likud branch with Shmuel Sackett all day and feeling, for the first and thankfully only time, dejected and out of hope. For a few minutes I really thought that we could never win and Moshe had no chance of ever becoming prime minister.
I soon recovered, and now we really have stopped the Netanyahu steamroller. By 41 votes.
If the decision comes in to reverse the vote, it will be a real momentum changer in the party.
I hate the idea of voting for anyone. I hate voting in general. It makes me feel like a criminal, because I know that whoever I vote for will think that he has some sort of mandate to use other people’s hard earned money to buy off more votes to get more power to use even more of other people’s hard earned money and then claim that he’s helping the economy by doing so all the while having other people fund his car and gas bill. (Who funds mine?)
The only laws I support are the ones that make it illegal for the government to do something it would otherwise try to do. Whether it’s destroy someone else’s private property – Arab or Jew – steal someone’s money through borrowing or printing or taxing, or anything else it tries to do. In other words, I only vote for politicians that promise to at least limit, and at best destroy, the very system that feeds them. I vote for infiltrators who vow to cut and destroy government. Not politicians who vow to feed on it and give me some of the scraps they feed on.
If it were up to me, I’d vote for Moshe Feiglin and no one else. He is the only one who cannot be corrupted.
But I have to vote for 12 people, or my vote for Feiglin does not count. So the other 11 people I will have to vote for will only be extensions of my vote for Feiglin.
I’m not voting for Tauber because he speaks English or I need an Anglo to represent my Anglo interests in Knesset. Anglos have no interests any more than anyone else has an interest in keeping his money and property, and I don’t care what language you speak. I’d put an Iranian or North Korean or an Arab in the Knesset if I was convinced he’d protect my money and property. Heck, I’m probably voting for a guy named Jihad (seriously) a Druze with a huge mustache.
I’m also not voting for Tauber because I think he’s incorruptible. If he makes it into Knesset, God willing, and Bibi leans on him to vote for destroying someone else’s private property, he’ll resist, and he’ll resist hard, but eventually he will break if his career at spending other people’s money is at stake. It’s just a sense I have from talking to him. He wants to protect me, but I know he can’t when push comes to shove.
I’m voting for him because he will be a good soldier in Feiglin’s army. That I sense, too. His heart is pointed in the right direction. It’s not in the right place yet, but unlike most politicians, at least it’s pointing to the right place.
Honestly, Tauber would be a very good soldier, better than any of the other 11 kleptomaniacs I’ll be voting for, with the possible exception of Yariv Levin, who I don’t like, but I almost like him, which says a lot.
When Feiglin is in charge, Tauber will be ready to join in, and he’ll be on the front lines. That’s why I’m voting for him, and for no other reason.
It looks like Moshe Kahlon, the popular and vaunted Likud Minister of Communications, will be the second consecutive Likud Central Committee Chairman to leave the party looking for more power. The first one, Tzahi Hanegbi who left to Kadima and was charged with handing out jobs to cronies and nearly convicted of perjury, is now back in Likud because Kadima has entirely crashed. He’s looking for a slot on Likud’s Knesset roster.
But that’s not what’s so maddening. After all, corrupt gangsters are all over the political spectrum peeking their heads in and out of political crevices looking for a slice of tax money. I am a voting Likud party member, and I don’t care all that much that Hanegbi is coming back. I simply won’t vote for him. What’s maddening is the reason that Kahlon is popular and polling 27 Knesset seats if he runs with former Kadima Diva Tzipi Livni, another Likud defector.
The only reason that Kahlon is popular is that I, an Israeli citizen with a cell phone, only have to pay 20 shekels a month for good service now instead of 400. Why is that? Because Kahlon, in a fit of what must have been Divine Inspiration, decided that he, as Communications Czar of Israel, would just let the market be, get out of the way, and do absolutely nothing.
Quite literally, the best thing he did for Israel was to say that he would no longer forbid any company that wants to enter the communications market to do so. He decided he would no longer protect big business with government threats. He decided, in effect, that there was no need for a Communication Minister at all. And voila! More companies sprung up offering much lower prices, and the whole country now benefits from the free market in cell phones. (Or at least much freer.)
But what makes me want to put my head in my hands and weep “Oy Gevalt!” is that the country has no idea what Kahlon did or why it worked. The entire media is describing Kahlon now as an economic socialist, and that it was socialism and ingenious government regulation policies that fixed the cell phone market. All the people know is that Kahlon went into office and then the cell phone bills went down, so they all love him.
And the worst part is, Kahlon himself doesn’t understand why he succeeded. He really IS a socialist, into the welfare state idea and all that. He just happened to have a flash of genius once and did something totally libertarian, totally unsocialistic, by getting government out of the market and just letting it function. Now he thinks he knows how to fix everything with government, and Israel believes him and will vote for him to do just that.
He’ll take that mandate, try to tinker with the free market somewhere, and the people will be disappointed, his party will crash, and he and everyone who goes with him will come crying back to the Likud, as they all do. Even Avigdor Liberman came from the Likud way back when, and now he’s back too.
All government has to do is get out of the way and leave everyone alone as much as possible. It doesn’t take Kahlon-ic genius to do that.
I went to a Likud event last night hosted by the head of the local Likud branch in Karnei Shomron in his home. He wanted me to show up so there would be bodies at the event, and I happen to have one of those. I’m technically on some board of something or other involving the local Likud branch, which means me and the Likud leadership structure are like Dark Helmet and Lonestar. Father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommates, which makes us absolutely nothing, but that’s more than most people.
I was dreading this event because the guest of honor was Gidon Sa’ar, that random guy who happened to get a few hundred votes more than the next random guy who in consequence was given the right by the Prime Minister to run the entire education system funded by coercive force and run as efficiently as a Hummer with a lead chassis stuck in first gear with the handbrake engaged and leaking fuel.
He comes in, tells us all about his wonderful accomplishments, and I’m surrounded by every head of the various bits and pieces of the totalitarian education regime in my region. After Sa’ar is done aweing us with his amazing display of managerial educational prowess, then the slave fest begins.
Everyone starts begging Sa’ar for tax money. Going on and on about how their school is missing a roof or is leaking poison gas or both and it’s hard for the children to learn the required state curriculum because they keep having to dodge bird droppings from the sky and it’s hard to concentrate while wearing a gas mask. So please oh Master Sa’ar can we please have 5 shekels of tax money so we can spread a sheet over the school and plug up the poison gas leak with a wad of chewing gum? We can’t afford the gum without your help.
I don’t know exactly what everyone was begging for in specific, but it may as well have been that. I couldn’t possibly pay attention because I was jumping out of my skin at the time. All words ran together and I stopped trying to decode it. At a certain concentration of slavery, I just stop processing.
I wanted to pick up these people by their collars and scream, “Why do you all have to beg like slaves towards this man to fund your obviously crappy schools? Get rid of the entire ministry of education, free yourselves, run your schools like businesses, and the best ones will survive and the worst ones will die! Just like any other industry!”
Every time there is a regime change the curriculum changes. If the left wins, everyone has to learn about the Nakba. If the right wins, everyone has to go to Hevron and the Ma’arat HaMachpelah. Why can’t there just be plain and simple freedom? Schools should do what they want to do, respond to supply and demand, teach what they want to teach and parents will send where they want to send, or not, no one will pay any taxes to fund any education system and all the money will go back to the people. Those who want to learn about the Nakba will go to that kind of school. Those that want to learn about the Cave and Hevron will go to that kind of school.
There would be no argument about whether to “recognize” Ariel “University Center” or not because there’d be no public money involved. No Hilonim would complain that the Haredim are not learning basic State requirements, because there wouldn’t be any. No Haredim would complain that the State is making them do whatever because it wouldn’t. Everyone could live in peace and harmony, learning and teaching whatever they wanted to learn and teach. Instead of the bad schools getting more money, they’d get less. Instead of the good schools getting less money, they’d get more.
I got a call yesterday from Gidon Sa’ar’s office asking if I intend to vote for him.
“Probably not,” I said. I just can’t bring myself to do it.
As expected, massive election fraud. It’s OK, we’re doing what we can to deal with it. In the end, we must all realize that these elections are just a game. A very important game we all have an obligation to play, but a game nonetheless. They are a game to get the Nation of Israel to pay attention, to see for a fraction of a second what’s really going on. This past week they got another opportunity to glimpse at the Jewish alternative.
We do everything we can, trust that we are on the right path, fight with poise, calm, and faith, and in the end we win. This was originally posted on Israel Truth Times.
Everyone reading this who has an Israeli ID card, click here and join Likud right this very second. Be a player in this game. Before the sea splits, you must take the leap, pay the 64 shekels, and put your name in the hat. Or you can just sit and complain from the sidelines about how muddy the trail is.
When you’re engaged in a battle to change the very consciousness of the State of Israel, the hardest thing to do is stay calm while at the same time fighting harder than you can imagine. We came into this election knowing that the deck was stacked against us, as it has been since we positioned ourselves as the faith-based alternative to Israel’s current leadership. Jewish Leadership – the name means that our goal is nothing less than replacing the powers that be in their entirety. So a little voting fraud, even a lot of it, doesn’t surprise us one bit. In fact, had this election been squeaky clean, we’d feel a bit uncomfortable…
Initial reports of the count given to us by sources high up in the Likud reported that Moshe Feiglin got 36% of the Likud vote, with Netanyahu getting 63%. The story came out at around 1am, February 1. Had that story stuck then Netanyahu would most likely be on his way out of the Likud right now. Just like, had Feiglin kept his number 19 slot on the Likud Knesset roster in ’08, Netanyahu would have left the party long ago. Imagine how embarrassing it would be for him if Feiglin were on his knesset list and no matter what he did, no matter how many threats he made, no matter how much iron coalition discipline he threw at Feiglin to vote the way he demanded and, say, kill a bill that would legalize Migron, Feiglin would never, ever break.
There’s no one in the Knesset like that. Not one. Some are better than others, but no one dares disobey Netanyahu from within, openly, and challenge his leadership at every opportunity. Feiglin would have, every time, from inside the Knesset, from inside Netanyahu’s own party, and he’d get censured and “disciplined” and banned from giving speeches on the plenum and maybe even banned from Likud faction meetings, but he’d vote his conscience and stand out like a sore thumb every time without exception. And the People of Israel would have paid very, very close attention. And the fear and mythology that surrounds the mystical elusive Netanyahu would have evaporated in days
That’s why Netanyahu did everything he could to get Feiglin off his list back then, kosher or not. And that’s why Netanyahu did everything he could to keep Feiglin at his previous 23% ceiling this time, kosher or not, even though he actually got 36%.
So over 1,000 people voted in Bet She’an, a Netanyahu stronghold, when there are only 700 Likud members there. Fraud. So they kicked our observers out of a bunch of places before the count started. Fraud. So in Beit Shemesh, Feiglin got hundreds more votes than reported according to our observers. Tens more examples like this. We’ll fight it. We’ll fight it as hard as we can. Maybe we’ll win, maybe we’ll lose, but in the end what we all must know that God is the real observer at the polls, and He knows what He’s doing.
That, and Netanyahu and the powers that be can only fight reality for so long. The reality is, Israel will have Jewish leadership. And every time Feiglin has another shot, more Jewish souls are lit. And once lit, they never go out. At a certain point, the dam will break. There’s nothing he or anyone else can do about it, because once the soul of this nation turns towards real Jewish leadership, no amount of fraud will be able to stop it.
So Bibi and the rest, I and those in this country who are awake and ready for the next round, say to you this: Bring it on. We’ll be there, and your time is running out.
If you reading this want to be part of the next fight, I urge you to join Likud right this second. Right on Netanyahu’s website, by clicking here.
With about 36 hours until polls open for Netanyahu vs Feiglin Round IV, I find myself fending off attacks from those who essentially agree with Feiglin about everything, but don’t support him because they think he’ll destroy the Likud if elected. It’s not that these people don’t believe in Feiglin. They don’t believe in the Jewish Nation’s ability to redeem itself.
They tell me that only a Feiglin fanatic could possibly believe that the Likud would gain seats if headed by Feiglin. These types of people have their political beliefs which I may agree with, but they have no faith in the Jewish People. I believe in the Jewish People because I know and understand Jewish history. Feiglin is just a guy like everyone else. Nothing really that special about him, except he’s doing the work everyone else shied away from. It’s the Jewish People that are special.
I also know and understand our role in our own history and what that role should be. When this People is finally presented a real leadership that can take its potential and broadcast it to the world, we will all wake up. If you have a strictly religious personality and Judaism is a personal religion to you and nothing more, you will not support Feiglin, no matter how much you agree with him. You will think that what he represents is pure fantasy, and you will refuse to vote for him under any circumstances. You will ignore poll numbers that say if he wins Likud will gain strength.
Chazal say that the first question one is asked after death is, “Were you honest with money?” That I can understand. It’s very hard to be honest with money. But the third question is “Did you believe in redemption?”
Why should that be the third question? Who doesn’t believe in redemption? Why is it so hard to believe that the Jews will be redeemed?
It’s not hard to say you believe it. It’s really hard to act accordingly. You only believe something if you are willing and ready to act on that belief. If you believe in the concept of Jewish redemption, you believe in Feiglin’s candidacy. You don’t know how he will win in the end, but you do know one thing with spiritual certainty, and that is this: When the Jewish People are presented the choice, for REAL, they will choose the path of redemption. They will choose Feiglin’s path.
This election on Tuesday is just one more step in that direction. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know how much Feiglin will get, and I don’t know all the things Netanyahu has up his sleeve and how much he will cheat.
But I know we are doing the right thing and that this is inevitable. Israel will have Jewish leadership. So if you don’t support Feiglin but you agree with him, I ask you this question, and I’m quoting that guy who shot Sean Connery in Indiana Jones III and looked at Harrison Ford and said this:
It’s time you ask yourself WHAT YOU BELIEVE.
May God give us all the help we need and the strength to continue and fight this to the very end.
This interview first appeared in the January 20th addition of Olam Katan, a religious Zionist publication. Those getting their political science major can get some insights from Feiglin’s point of view. What follows is an original translation by World of Judaica.
They’re Not Laughing Anymore – An Interview with Moshe Feiglin
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 liked, 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.
Religious People with Little Faith
But nevertheless, do results not matter? After 13 years, you got to 23% of the party vote, and you have yet to become a Knesset member. At this rate it will take another 40 years to become the party leader. And even if theoretically you do beat Netanyahu one day, he’ll leave the party the same day and everyone will follow him. Everyone understands that the true Likud is no longer here.
When my family came to Israel 120 years ago, everyone was still in Belarus and shook their heads at that one rich Jew that decided to take his successful family to a barren wasteland. It was the craziest and most illogical thing to do. But at the end of the day, since it was the right thing to do, the realistic thing to do, that is to say it was God’s Will, because of that, we – his descendants – live here, and we all know what happened to those who stayed behind. We believe that the Third Return to Zion will not be undone, that the Holy One Blessed Be He isn’t joking around with us only to return us back to exile. And since the State of Israel will continue to exist, it cannot be anything but a State that fulfills the will of God. That is to say, and the end of the day, this country must have faith-based leadership. The only question is, what part will we take in this story.
Actually, I’m doing exactly what my grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather did, meaning what I believe the Will of God to be. Anyone who refuses to join us is, in practice, delaying the development of Jewish leadership for the State of Israel, he’s the one that is unrealistic, refusing to develop, he’s the one that I’m sad to say will pay the price. God wills that this country have Jewish leadership. There is no other possibility.
Who knows what God’s will is? The Holy One Blessed Be He also destroyed Gush Katif and brought us the Holocaust.
In truth, I don’t know how long it will take before our victory becomes actualized. Just like the Wright brothers who thought up the idea that a body heavier than air could fly, tried a hundred times to build it and they all crashed. But in the end it flew. And the very second it began to fly, all of the 100 failures became part of the ultimate success. Understand what kind of success it was when in the last primaries nearly a quarter of the Likud membership – not the NRP or the National Union – a quarter of the membership of the biggest political party in Israel voted for me. I surpassed all the senior ministers, Uzi Landau, Yisrael Katz…I surpassed Shaul Mofaz, which is why he left to Kadima.
For whatever reason, the Likudniks don’t ask themselves these types of questions you’re asking me. The ones who ask me, and weak of faith they are in this case, are specifically the religious ones, and I must say, it frustrates me to a great deal. There’s a process going on here where specifically the ones who are supposed to believe that “the redemption of Israel happens slowly but surely” find it difficult to understand for some reason. We’re in the middle of a necessarily inevitable victory, a process that can’t NOT win according to our worldview. If you’re a leftist and you think the country is going to be destroyed because of what we’re doing and that we’re promoting national disintegration and destruction, then fine. But if you understand that we are in the process of redemption, then I simply don’t understand how it’s possible NOT to understand the implications of my candidacy. Manhigut Yehudit is continually gaining strength, and even the Prime Minister is showing through his behavior how much he is stressed out by my progress.
Your book “Where There are No Men” is a book on the revolutionary period of your Zo Artzeinu Movement during the Oslo Accords. Maybe it was better back then, as a protest movement outside the political realm?
For me personally it was a lot more fun back then. It was fun being a child with no responsibility. There’s nothing easier than blocking a highway, sitting in jail and reaping the fruits of praise. My position in Zo Artzeinu was a springboard for me that I could have used for a soft landing into politics all for myself, but I understood that that wouldn’t accomplish a thing. We don’t lack knitted kippot in politics. We lack men with vision who are actually trying to achieve that vision, showing the public that its leaders are taking them in the wrong direction and showcase an alternative. It’s one or the other: Either we don’t have an alternative to the current reality, and then the question arises as to why we’re complaining about Barak, Sharon and the rest, or we have an alternative – and then it has to come together with contending for the leadership of the country.
I’ve learned this from the Israeli Left. The Leftists were never a majority in Israel, so how did it happen that their ideology set the Israeli reality? Very simple. They were not satisfied with putting up a bunch of settlements, meaning Kibbutzim and their own communities. The immediately translated their ideology into public policy and ran for leadership of the country. They had a leadership consciousness. By us, however, nothing of the sort has ever over crossed the boundary of private or local community-based belief to the point of national leadership. The Right does not lack protest movements. This is not what I was looking for. I was looking for a solution. A faith-based alternative to the whole process of collapse that we find ourselves in.
If the 3% of radical leftists were able to take control of the Zionist enterprise in the 20’s and 30’s because they had a vision, and then succeeded in directing the entire process of the Return to Zion to one that has no God, that leaves God aside, why aren’t we capable of initiating the reverse? The answer is that we don’t believe in ourselves enough. We don’t believe that our Torah is relevant, and worst of all – we don’t believe in the Nation of Israel and its uniqueness.
And I’m telling you that the Nation of Israel is waiting and anticipating this kind of message with baited breath. You see it in the music that is becoming more and more faith-based, in the culture that is turning into this, in the yearning for a return to family values…you have no idea how many times this comes up in the polls again and again. You see that the Nation of Israel wants to be Jewish, so why are we afraid of giving it to them, giving them leadership that can provide it? Why do we continually place ourselves in the role of barking at the passing convoy? Why are we afraid to think big?
They’re afraid? No, We’re Afraid.
I hear people say that there’s nothing to be worried about. That we just have to stand our ground in Judea and Samaria and we’ll fight tactical wars where we need to and we’ll vote for the least bad candidate and the situation will somehow work itself out in our favor. We saw in the Disengagement where such thinking leads. In an overall sense, we’re in a process of redemption, but in the immediate sense, the State of Israel is being led by forces that do not share our beliefs. Therefore, it follows necessarily that if there won’t be Jewish leadership, the Disengagement will have a bitter sequel. I’m not saying this in order to scare anybody, but from a very simple dialectical analysis. If you don’t present an alternative, there is a limit to how many fingers you can put in the dike in order to stop the raging waters.
What’s your opinion on Rabbinic leadership and the general leadership of the religious Zionist sector?
I respect them very much. They’re doing work one can only admire. It pains me a little that I’m seen as one who doesn’t know how to value the efforts of Torah based groups, or love of Israel that organizations like Tzohar effectively demonstrate. It’s simply untrue. I know how to value and even admire these people.
On the other hand, I must say that I only say what I think is true. Of course with love, an embrace, but the truth must be spoken. I am against blurring identity in order to preserve unity. In Manhigut Yehudit I see declared secularists, even atheists, and on the other hand I see Ultra Orthodox. On either side, saying the truth doesn’t scare them. I learned that when you speak the truth with conviction and humility, it doesn’t scare people away. Those who really listen can value it.
What do you think about Yair Lapid joining politics?
He’s a ratings candidate. Shelli Yechimovich’s candidacy I saw in a positive light, since she expresses a coherent philosophy, even if it’s dangerous in my opinion, and the impression I get is that she actually believes what she says. This is a type of politics that is absent in Israel, and I do not see this in Lapid. I certainly don’t see it in Noam Shalit, a man that did not contribute a thing to Israeli society but exacted a terrible price from it, and he’s coming into politics off the back of the fact that he was able to take a lot. Lapid and Shalit symbolize bad politics in my opinion. I’m more comfortable talking with an ideological enemy with a consistent philosophy.
Netanyahu knows that the map with the correct destination the country has to go in and will in the end arrive at, is in my hands and yours. Journalists always ask me why he’s so afraid of me, and the answer is that this is exactly what he’s afraid of. He knows very well and understands the potential of Manhigut Yehudit, seemingly even better than all of my voters. The fact is that the public is divided between those that love me and those that deeply hate me, but nobody’s laughing at me. Deep down, the public knows that there’s something very very real going on here.