Report: Moshe Feiglin Speaks to Full House in Beit Shemesh
By Shimshon Weisman
I saw Moshe Feiglin speak in English Tuesday night at a hall in Rmat Beit Shemesh. I got there about 20 minutes late. It actually started on time. He must be a yekke.
This is the fourth time I have seen Moshe Feiglin speak. I saw him speak in private homes previously. Very small crowds. And a lot more skepticism. This was in 2006, 2007, and 2009, before he was even an MK. There were several hundred easily last night.
When I arrived, he got to the demographics of Israel. This is something I’ve talked about with a few people. He didn’t mention numbers but talked about how the Jewish birthrate is on its way to passing the Arabs. Even the least observant Tel Aviv women have kids. This is true. Four or five years tops, if not already, the rates cross. We have kids. They, increasingly, don’t.
He spoke about his success or lack of in the Knesset isn’t the be all and end all, for two reasons.
One is, his issues are raised and aired. The Temple Mount is actually an issue today, and I would even say largely due to his efforts to make it so. Getting first banned and then later permitted to resume his ascents are meaningful. Bibi blinked.
The proper stance on the war is another. He gets the problem. He understands how the world sees us, which is as foreign occupiers. Basically, until we as a people get up and say this is our land (talked a little about Zu Artzeinu; I remember that summer very well). Discussed concerns like boycotts and pressure and pointed out, rightly, that foreign pressure has only increased as we continued relinquishing our assertion of sovereignty. Gaza is just the precursor to Ashdod and Ashkelon and…
This is not a public relations problem. Because as long as we see ourselves as occupiers, we will be treated that way, no matter what justifications we offer or comparisons we make or restrictions we put on ourselves as humanitarian gestures.
That’s all part of the first reason.
The second reason is being totally open about his bid for prime minister. Oslo was imposed from the top down. Someone in the top has to be in place to end it. But that someone can only get there through changing hearts and minds. He suggested several times if someone might be okay with the idea but not him personally, that person was welcome, even encouraged, to start his own movement, take the lead, do whatever. He wasn’t there to negotiate. He offered a program, and was explicit that he saw getting power as the only way to fix it (but until then use the platform he has to raise issues). I thought he handled the criticism very well. Even better than the last times i saw him. One woman talked about how she used to think he was crazy 10 years ago, but now she’s come around to his way of thinking on many issues. There was a great exchange there.
Talking so openly about leadership, Jewish Leadership, makes people very uncomfortable, because it is a level of power that we as Jews have not asserted for a very long time. The entire stance of the state from the beginning has been one of negotiation and reconciliation, miraculous victories notwithstanding.