When the Jews of Israel begin to assert their historic claim to the land of Israel, their Arab neighbors will have no choice but to respect that claim and allow Israel to live in peace, according to Moshe Feiglin, founder and head of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction of the Israel’s right-wing Likud political party.
Moshe Feiglin, head of the Likud’s Jewish Leadership faction, will speak at Teaneck’s Cong. B’nai Yeshurun on Sunday.
"When we know what we want from ourselves, our neighbors will appreciate that," Feiglin told this newspaper during a telephone interview on Monday. "They’ll understand they’ll have to accept the fact that the land of Israel will remain a Jewish nation."
Feiglin will elaborate on his views this Sunday at Teaneck’s Cong. B’nai Yeshurun. His main point, he said, is that the Jews of Israel have accepted Arab claims to the land of Israel and that has weakened Israel in the eyes of its neighbors and limited the Jewish state’s ability to fight against terrorist organizations.
Manhigut Yehudit controls 135 delegates in the ‘,800-member Likud Central Committee, the party’s main decision-making body. Its mission, according to its Website, www.jewishisrael.org, is to "create a genuinely Jewish consciousness in the Land of Israel, motivated by the awareness that our faith and our country are intrinsically woven together." Created in 1998, it is a successor to Zo Artzeinu, which Feiglin founded in 1994 as a civil disobedience movement to protest the Oslo accords.
"When 50,000 people are looking at you on the baseball field you are supposed to play by baseball rules," Feiglin said. "When [former Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin shook the hand of [former Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman] Yasser Arafat, we accepted their claim for the land of Israel. We justified their claims and said the land belongs to the Arabs and not to the Jews. Under these rules you cannot defend yourself."
Israel’s morale has been drastically lowered because of its acceptance of Arab claims to the land, Feiglin said. This belief, he added, has even promoted anti-Semitism in the world by giving the impression that Jews "are the bad guys."
"There is a great despair today because people don’t see a way out of this situation," he said. Asked how he viewed the current government’s ability to move forward in negotiations with the Palestinians, he called the peace process "nonsense" that has led only to bloodshed.
"We’re not talking about a peace process," he said of his faction’s mission. "We’re talking about peace between Jews and themselves. When we have peace with ourselves, we’ll have peace with our neighbors."
Feiglin and his faction advocate Jewish sovereignty over all of Israel, including Gaza and the west bank. As for the Palestinians in the territories, they already want to leave because of the situation there, he said.
"We should help them find a good future somewhere else and not stay as a ticking time bomb suffering from their own regime on the land of the Jews," he said.
Feiglin’s views have earned him distinction across the world as a hardliner. Earlier this month he was banned from Great Britain under an emergency law passed after a ‘005 terror attack there. A notice from the British Home Office informed Feiglin that his views "would not be conducive to the public good."
Despite the negative attention, Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit faction has made him difficult to ignore, even though he is not a member of the Knesset. He has twice unsuccessfully run for the leadership of the Likud, which would have made him a candidate for prime minister, which is his ultimate goal, he said. His losses have only encouraged him, he said. In primaries in late ‘005 he won 13 percent of the vote, losing to former Premier Benjamin Netanyahu. He ran again in the August ‘007 primaries, where he won almost ‘5 percent of the vote, but again lost to Netanyahu.
"When we will be in power Israel will come back to the basic belief in the God of Israel and understand the land of Israel belongs only to the Jews because God promised and gave it to us," he said. "From that time, we’ll be able to win the war. There’s no other way you can win the war when you believe the other side is right."
Asked why he does not take his faction to one of the other nationalist or religious parties, Feiglin said that the Likud is the best party for him and his faction.
His goal, he added is not a religious one.
"Our message is not about a halakhic state. It’s not about forcing anything on anybody," he said. "We’re offering all the Israelis a new kind of leadership a leadership that believes in God and pride in the people of Israel and the State of Israel. It’s definitely not a religious message, it’s an Israeli message."
For more information on Feiglin’s talk, call (908) 7’7-‘543.