The Regulation Law: Historic Achievement or Farce? By Moshe Feiglin
The Regulation Law to regulate settlement in Judea and Samaria is making its way through the legislation process. In order to get it to pass through the Knesset, the heads of the Jewish Home party, who introduced and advanced the bill, agreed to remove Amona, the homes in question in Ofra and Netiv Ha’avot from the law. In other words, the above settlements and homes will be destroyed, while all the other settlements will be recognized and regulated.
My head says that the Regulation Law is a major achievement. True, we did not manage to save Amona, but we did manage to ‘regulate’ the rest of the settlements.
My heart, however, is telling me just the opposite.
To whom should we listen? To the heads of the Jewish Home party, who are celebrating their ‘historic achievement’? Or to the residents of Amona, who feel betrayed?
This question has to be analyzed with a historical perspective. Was Bar Kochba, who rebelled against the Romans, a heroic leader? Or was he a feckless risk-taker? Was Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, who turned himself in to the same Romans, a traitor? Or was he a responsible leader?
The answers to those questions depend on one’s understanding of the direction of history. If the Nation of Israel in the post-Temple era had been capable of preserving its sovereignty, then Rabbi Yochacnan Ben Zakai’s role would have been seen in a different light. The difference between a national hero and a traitor is the hairsbreadth of historic perspective.
Most Jewish leaders preferred to think that the Nazis were a passing phenomenon, not a strategic threat. They saw no reason to urge their congregants and community members to flee. The passive default option is the greatest temptation of every functionary and politician. That is the difference between them and a true leader.
A true leader needs a sense of history; a small spark of intuition that affords him the ability to understand the direction that history is taking. Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai understood that the Nation of Israel was about to embark upon a 2000-year journey in exile. Ze’ev Jabotinsky saw the Holocaust brewing and urged the Jews to flee Europe. Ben Gurion understood that the time had come for the Nation of Israel to return to the Land of Israel and decided to found the State of Israel. It was a risk at least as great as Bar Kochba’s great rebellion.
So is the Regulation Law an historical achievement? Or is it a farce?
If the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria triumphs and grows, if the Left’s judicial warfare is not the tip of the iceberg of a strategic threat – then the Regulation Law is a good law that plugs an insignificant leak in a large, stable dam.
But if the legitimacy for settlement – and the legitimacy for the existence of the State of Israel – continues to diminish; if Israeli sovereignty on the ground continues to destabilize; if the IDF’s freedom to act continues to erode; if in Ariel, Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem it is impossible to mention plans for any new construction; if after the election of a new US president favorable to Israel, the Israeli Defense Minister rushes to explain that we will be satisfied with ‘settlement blocs’; in short, if the settlement movement is in defense mode, then the Regulation Law is a very bad law.
Even if the law will allow us to stick a finger into one of the holes in the dam, it will be nothing more than a dangerous illusion. When a dam crumbles and the water threatens to sweep everything away, you don’t stick your finger in one of the holes. You drain the dam in a different direction.
All the fingers of the functionaries and all the regulations will not help to plug the dam.
Historical perspective points to the fact that this is a strategic – not tactical – battle.
Sovereignty is what is needed here.
Then we will be able to make regulation laws for the Arabs who choose to remain in Judea and Samaria.