Questions and Answers with Moshe Feiglin
What is your message to the Israeli public?
I think that we must make the Jewish identity of our state our first priority.
A theocratic state?
Not at all. Israel must be a state that affords its citizens the liberty to express who they really are. I actually oppose religious parties and religious legislation.
So what kind of state are you referring to?
Israel should be a state in which every child in the educational system studies Jewish identity for one hour daily. Our children should know our history, our land, the Bible and the prayer book. Whether or not they choose to pray from the prayer book is their choice (or that of their parents). But at least they should be familiar with the glorious history and culture that informs who they are today.
And what will you do about the Arabs?
Our problems with the Arabs are a reflection of the problems between the Jews. The Left is fanatically anxious to ‘solve’ the Arab problem so that they will stop reminding them that they are Jews. They erroneously think that if the Arabs no longer hate the Jews, they will also be free of their Jewishness. This psychosis has accompanied the Jewish people for generations. The Arabs have subconsciously identified the obsessive need of Israel’s leftist leaders for their recognition. This is a tremendous psychological asset that they use to manipulate us. That is why there will be no peace with the Arabs until we make peace with ourselves.
So you are saying that there is no peace because we try to escape our Jewish identity?
Right. As soon as we free ourselves of our identity crisis, we will have peace with our neighbors.
And what should we do in the meantime?
We must concentrate on the Jews. Israel should give every honorably discharged soldier who wants to get married free land on which to build his home in the Negev, Galilee, Golan, Judea or Samaria. If you travel today along Wadi Ara or the Negev, you will plainly see that the state has de facto provided every new Arab couple with free land.
Secondly, Israel must give its citizens as much freedom of choice as possible. Every citizen should be able to obtain a broadcasting license and to broadcast on both radio and television to his heart’s desire (within the confines of Israel’s security needs and common morality, of course). Supreme Court justices should be elected by our elected representatives and undergo a Knesset hearing, as is done in America. Israel should have district elections so that our Knesset members would have to answer to their own constituency.
When Israel comes down on the side of liberty and true democracy, it will be free of the identity crisis of the ‘enlightened elites’ that has been plaguing us ever since the state was born. Israel will be a Jewish state for the Jewish people. At that point we will be able to deal with the challenges facing us – and triumph.
What is your stand on economy?
In a Jewish country the economy should be based on a triangle whose base is capitalism (the right of purchase) and whose right and left sides are faith and lovingkindness. I abhor populist socialism that essentially demands equal distribution of poverty. I believe that the state does not have the right to rob one of his possessions, and it must interfere with the economy as little as possible.
To deal with poverty we must hold district elections and develop community organizations. In doing so we will restore personal responsibility to our citizens and develop the Jewish values of loving kindness and mutual responsibility. The centralized welfare policies currently in effect in Israel have gone bankrupt long ago, and we all feel it. We must develop the traditional Jewish community structure (that the State of Israel essentially destroyed), and in this way erase the phenomenon of hungry children and forgotten elderly.
What is your security strategy?
My security platform is based first and foremost on the justice of our cause. As soon as we lost our feeling of justice, we brought terror and additional security threats upon ourselves. Once, my reserve army unit was able to keep order in all of Shechem. Today, all the elite units put together cannot do so, because we do not believe that we are right.
I believe that true Jewish leadership can significantly reduce the amount of forces needed for security because we will once again make our enemies feel threatened. Israel’s security policy must be aggressive (as when Begin attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor ), and not a policy of defensive walls, separation fences, bullet proof vehicles and Arrow missiles.
We must strive for a standing army that is strictly voluntary. If there is a threat to our country, we must attack and not leave existential dangers for the coming generations because we feared to deal with them.