Afraid of their own Message
By Moshe Feiglin
Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
Editor's note: This article is Moshe Feiglin's rebuttal to an editorial that appeared in last week's Makor Rishon newspaper.
At the end of his article "The Feiglin Bang" (Makor Rishon, March 23, '12), Amnon Lord predicts one of two possibilities: Either I will lead the Likud with approximately 35 mandates or I will turn into the Uri Avneri (ed: radical leftist writer and media figure) of the Right. In truth, I find the second possibility more appealing. After all, since Oslo, all of Israel's prime ministers have taken the route charted out by Uri Avneri. We did not hear the idea to establish a state for the invented "Palestinian nation" in Israel's heartland in a Bar Ilan speech or in a virtuosic appearance before both houses of the Congress; we heard it first from Avneri. So if I could be the Right's Uri Avneri, I would grab the opportunity. But due to my lack of appropriate talents, I will have to make do with the first alternative and with G-d's help, lead the Likud when the time comes.
Amnon Lord is convinced that when that happens, the Likud will not be able to form a coalition. Whoever makes this claim must answer a serious question: What is so important about a Likud-led coalition without a message? It is specifically these Likud coalitions that have time and again implemented Uri Avneri's vision.
But let us ignore this irritating question and relate to the claim that the Likud under my leadership will not be able to form a coalition and rule. The very opposite is true. Not only will the Likud under my leadership win a large majority, but it will also form a broad coalition. Even more important, it will finally start to rule the nation – simply because it will know where it is going.
Amnon Lord did not figure in the growing thirst for Jewish meaning on the one hand and Israel's growing existential distress – a combination of international demonization and our inability to address the threats on our cities from both Gaza and Tehran, on the other. He prefers to relate to reality as static and ignores the direction in which it is developing. Lord also ignores the inability of any leadership that is not faith-based to deal with Israel's security, educational and social challenges.
It is clear to me that the road to leadership of the Likud is much longer and harder than the road from there to leadership of Israel. I always claimed (and reality repeatedly proves me right) that the Likud, as an authentic popular party, accurately represents the general public. If approximately one third of the Likud members have already freed themselves of the shackles expressed by Lord and chose the faith-based alternative for leadership of their party, this more or less reflects the current situation in Israel at large. In other words, we are at an excellent starting point.
Excuse me for evoking unpleasant truths, but the reason that Kadimah is currently the largest party in Israel and actually defeated the Likud despite all the pre-election polls that showed the Likud winning 40 mandates, is because I was forced out of the slot in the Likud roster to which I had been elected. "The Opposite Feiglin Effect," in the words of the Ha'aretz newspaper, who like Lord, had become fixated on the mantra that with Feiglin in the Likud, the party would lose mandates.
As to Lord's other claims: I do not encourage religious youth to avoid army service. That is totally absurd. I see the army as a meaningful value and army service as an important mitzvah. But if the IDF's main task is to be defined as the expulsion of Jews from their Land, I will temporarily prefer to serve my country in a different place. I do not agree with the assumption that religious enlistment in and of itself affords the Religious Zionists their longed-for legitimacy. The secular unit now being put together by the Golani brigade commander proves that point. Preferring the commander over G-d and one's instinctive sense of morality is abhorrent in my eyes.
I am not an anarchist. For Lord and the Left from which he came, the pretension to perfect the world necessarily means the destruction of the previous world. "The perfection of the world in the Kingdom of Heaven" is the opposite of that.
I do not understand why Lord thinks I oppose nationalism. Once again, just the opposite is true. True, nationalism devoid of values beyond it can slip into fascism. But nationalism with values is the foundation of a healthy society.
Nevertheless, Lord's article represents important progress. For the first time, a central writer in a newspaper geared toward the faith-based intelligentsia has dared to discuss the faith-based alternative as a realistic possibility.
The only sector of society that incorporates the elements needed to extricate Israel from its state of crisis is scared to death of its own message and of whoever tries to bring it to the public. It does not surprise me at all that the writer who did not grow up in the Religious Zionist milieu is specifically the person who is able to begin to deal with this possibility. By doing so, Lord has joined intellectuals from the Left, who of course attack and denounce me, but do not ignore the message and the potential; particularly Yaron London who wrote about the "only leader who evokes inspiration in Israeli politics" and Avrum Burg: "The only one who challenges Israel's political paradigm," - and others.
The milieu from which Lord came maintains a very strong leadership mentality. They understand that the combination of vision, leadership and perseverance ultimately triumphs.
If we don't want to see how the IDF with all the religious soldiers and commanders, the courts with all the religious judges and the top-notch religious media are all washed away in the next round of Uri Avneri's vision, we had better stop attacking the faith based alternative and join forces to make sure it prevails.