Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Afraid of Freedom

By Moshe Feiglin

20 Tishrei, 5771
Sept. 28, '10

Translated from the NRG website.

Nobody has to worry about the allegiance of the religious officers and soldiers who are crowding the ranks of the IDF today. IDF documents made public after the expulsion from Gush Katif show that statistically, it was actually the soldiers who were not connected to a religious framework who refused to obey orders - and that phenomenon was negligible.

There is a different phenomenon though, that should be worrying those people who view freedom of thought, freedom of choice and freedom of conscience as a threat to their hegemony.

Polls and in-depth studies unequivocally prove that Israeli society is rediscovering its Judaism. The fascinating aspect of this phenomenon is that the younger generation of Israelis is actually closer to traditional Judaism than their parents. This Yom Kippur, more young people fasted than their adult counterparts. In the past, the opposite was true. The synagogues and community leaders were relegated to the "old generation," while the youngsters wanted nothing to do with "religion". But now, Israeli society is becoming more and more faith-based, with the younger generation blazing the trail.

Israeli society is becoming more faith-based - not more "religious." The phenomenon that we are experiencing is much broader than the "repentance movement" in its strictly religious parameters.

In the days of entertainer-turned-rabbi Uri Zohar, to "repent" meant to turn from a "secular Jew" into a "religious" or "haredi" Jew. But these definitions do not reflect reality. The question that actually defines the status of a given Jew on the faith continuum is: Is G-d present in your life or not? There are Jews who observe the commandments, but have left G-d out of the picture. There are even "progressive" movements that excel at that. On the other hand, there are Jews who still have not connected to Jewish law in its entirety, but experience G-d as very much present in their lives.

On this fundamental level, all of us are returning to G-d all the time. This ongoing experience is not a move from one end of the social spectrum to the other, but a gradual cohesion of the two extremes- together with G-d.

Only a person who fears G-d benefits from true liberty:
"And the midwives feared G-d and did not do what the king of Egypt told them, and they let the children live." (Exodus 1)

Two Hebrew women whose lives were worth no more than dust in the Egyptian gulag refuse to obey the orders of the greatest king in the ancient world - the Egyptian Pharaoh - and don't throw the Jewish baby boys into the Nile River. Their fear of G-d preserved their liberty.

As part of my sentence for "sedition" against the Oslo Accords government, I did community service in a state nursing home. One of the old gentlemen there told me his own story about a different gulag:

"When I went to first grade in the Stalin-era public school in Russia, I made sure never to ask permission from my teacher to let me use the bathroom. It was very important to me to be sure that when I would need to ask permission to go to the bathroom, she would believe me and let me leave the classroom. I knew that I would need to use this escape route when the state nurse would come to check the personal hygiene of the students. If she would find the
tzitzit (ritual fringes) that I had under my shirt, she would report me to the authorities and my father would be sent to his death in Siberia."

My friend in the nursing home told this story very matter-of-factly. But it gave me the goose bumps. I was in awe of the father who would risk his life for his faith and the little boy whose fear of Heaven made him truly free at the ripe old age of six.

The wave of return to G-d that Israeli society is now experiencing will necessarily lead to liberty for our Land as well. That is what the people in the ivory towers have to watch out for - not for the religious soldiers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Excerpted from Moshe Feiglin's letter to this week's Makor Rishon newspaper:

Two weeks ago, you published an article on Mr. Joel Bell, an American living in Israel who goes to great lengths to help Israel's Right. In the article, my name was mentioned as a recipient of his financial aid.

I met Joel and Pamela Bell when I went to live in Gush Katif prior to the Expulsion. We developed a warm friendship. From our discussions, I understood that Joel was a non-Jew who believed in the G-d of Israel and the Torah. As such, I had no problem accepting donations from him for Manhigut Yehudit and Joel indeed gave generously.

When I discovered that the Bell couple had their own religious agenda that contradicts the Torah, I cut off relations with them. For years, we have not
received a cent from them.

It is important for all the Jewish nationalist and religious organizations that accept Christian financial aid to know that by their very nature, Christian organizations have a missionary agenda. There are no free lunches. When you accept a donation from a Christian organization - no matter how friendly to and admiring of Jews - you have turned your organization into a pipeline for missionary influence.

Shmuel Sackett's letter to a US pastor who offered to support Manhigut Yehudit:

Thank you for your email offering help. We believe in conducting ourselves honestly, which is certainly not easy in the world of politics - but it’s especially difficult when the dynamic of interfaith relations enters the picture. We therefore ask that you consider and respect the following:

We are not proponents of a Judeo-Christian culture, interfaith theological endeavors, or an Israel-Evangelical alliance. Rather we are inspired and directed by Torah values and the Jewish faith. We believe that good relations can be built on a respect for differences and boundaries rather than a quest for commonality. This necessity for religious separateness is not a matter of political ideology or prejudice. It is a matter of Jewish Law.

We also believe it is imperative that the nation of Israel learn how to stand as an independent, sovereign Jewish entity, and we therefore do not, as a policy, accept financial assistance from Evangelical Christian sources. Nor do we encourage meetings and associations with those entities branding themselves and their mission as Christian in nature. We do, however, welcome sincere, intelligent and moral commitment from Gentile friends who have a grasp of historic events and the current challenges we and the world at large face - and who appreciate the unique role that we as Jews have in this world.

Our destiny to be "a light unto the nations" requires that we as a nation have the degree of solitude needed to generate the kind of redemptive solutions that can help all of mankind and which will allow us to contribute to the world community in our own unique way.

Manhigut Yehudit encourages Gentile parties who truly appreciate and respect the Jewish people and their national aspirations. We have no doubt that those
righteous non-Jews, who have mankind’s best interests at heart, will continue to stand with Israel during these challenging times.

Thank you for your understanding and consideration.

Shmuel Sackett
International Director,
Manhigut Yehudit

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Completely New Paradigm:

By Moshe Feiglin

11 Tishrei, 5771
Sept. 19, '10

We have already been to this movie - over and over again:
The Right wins the elections.
A few months later - its elected leader makes a severely leftist declaration.
Afterwards, his "close aides" explain that it was simply a tactical diversion.
Estrangement and harassment of the settlers and settlements ensue.
Followed by the renewal of the "peace process."
Jews are murdered by Arab terrorists.
The "peace process" continues. "We can't play into the hands of the extremists."
The talks fail.
Unilateral concessions.

The other part of the movie - the reaction of the Right - also follows a set pattern:

The Yesha Council embarks on a public relations campaign.
Massive demonstrations.
Great slogans, gleaned from the prime minister's past promises and warnings.
Possibly even road-blocking.
"Illegal" settlement.
Attempts to cook up all sorts of political magic solutions - inside and outside the Likud.

We all know that the same old methods will not work.
Not because they are not the right way to work. They are the least we can do stop Israel's collapse. But they don't work because they do not address the source of the problem.

The problem is not the government and not the prime minister. They are just the symptoms. Protesting the symptoms has never gotten us anywhere and it never will.

When we blocked the highways, we deceived ourselves into believing that the train had simply fallen off the tracks. We believed that all we needed to do was to put it back on the tracks and all would be well. The same is true of our political campaigns. We deceived ourselves into believing that the problem was a given prime minister. All that we would need to do would be to replace him or his government and then the next rightist coalition would not dare threaten the settlements.

Time and again we held the most massive demonstrations and the most successful public relations campaigns. But instead of achieving our goals, we became Israel's perpetual, irritating cry-babies. Israel continues to fall apart, irrelevant of its government and ministers and irrelevant of its election results. The collapse relentlessly marches on, like a raging tsunami.

It is not the individuals who are at fault here, but the frame of reference from which they work. The Israeli who bares his neck today to Achmadinijad's nuclear sword does so because his frame of reference tells him that there is no alternative. Israel's elite does not recognize the Jewish Nation or its right to self-definition. It maintains that justice is completely on the side of the Arabs. They are the permanent phenomenon here, while the Jews are simply temporary. That is why there is no chance that Israel will take out Iran's nuclear reactor. And it certainly will not insist on keeping Judea and Samaria.

We can demonstrate, we can try to delay the end and we can try to use political pressure. But with our current national frame of reference, we are playing a zero sum game.

We must completely change our national frame of reference. That is where Manhigut Yehudit is focusing its energies. One of the tools that we will employ to change the existing paradigm is a new newspaper that will describe the Jewish State as it should be. When we say that to save Israel from the dangers threatening us we will put out a new newspaper, it sounds detached from reality. A newspaper can stop a country's collapse?

Yes, it can. If we manage to create a new frame of reference throughout Israeli society, we will be able to make the change Israel so desperately needs. When Israelis understand that they are being offered a real alternative, they will choose it.

We are busily working on our new newspaper, to be called, "Tomorrow." The newspaper, to be broadly distributed, will not attack anyone and will not deal with the present outrages. Instead, it will present the alternative on the basis of working papers, interesting ideas and excellent graphics.

The newspaper's readers will begin to experience the new Jewish paradigm and will have a new frame of reference with which to analyze reality. They will realize that we can protect ourselves from destruction, live as a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel and deal with all the accompanying challenges if we finally establish an authentic Jewish state. They will also learn that a Jewish state is not what they have been frightened into thinking it is, and that in most cases, it is just the opposite.

They will learn that a truly Jewish state will restore the liberty that was stolen from them before they were even born. They will learn that in a truly Jewish state their financial situation will be better, their security will be enhanced and their private and national lives will be filled with meaning.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur Assessment

By Moshe Feiglin

Courtesy of the Temple Institute

The year that has passed since last Yom Kippur, to be remembered by many as "the year of the freeze," was a difficult one for both Israel and Manhigut Yehudit. Manhigut Yehudit entered a stage of serious deliberations as to how to progress toward our goal of Jewish leadership for Israel. The direction that we chose is possibly the greatest challenge that we have ever taken upon ourselves.

It is clear to us now that the Nation of Israel needs to see how we will run our country according to Jewish values before it will vote for the faith-based alternative. For now, we are strengthening our political accomplishments - partly thanks to the massive registration of the faith-based public for the Likud. The main focus of our efforts, though, is to make an authentic Jewish state a tangible and pertinent concept. If we succeed in arousing the curiosity and creative talents of our nation so that people will begin to see their Jewish-state dreams in practical terms, the authentic Jewish state will become a relevant alternative.

Let us pray that we will emerge from this "year of the freeze" to a year of vitality and renewal. Let us pray for the speedy healing of the nation and its individuals and for great success as we progress toward our goal of perfecting the world under the sovereignty of Heaven.

Gmar Chatima Tovah

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jewish Banking

By Moshe Feiglin

4 Tishrei, 5771
September 12, '10

Two weeks ago it was announced that Israel's Bank Hapoalim surprised all the analysts and posted a quarterly net profit of 513 million shekels. In other words, half a billion shekels plus 13 million shekels net profit for three months.

I have nothing against Bank Hapoalim. On the contrary, their commissions are cheaper than the other banks and I am pleased that they are making a lot of money. Everything written in this article pertains to all the large banks.

Something bothered me when I listened to the report of Bank Hapoalim's profits. The bank's economists explained that the surprising increase in profits actually stems from the large reduction in the debts of its loan recipients. In other words, the bank's increased profit is not because it is more efficient, but rather because we, its clients, have been more efficient in paying the bank interest on our loans.

What is the problem with that? Most of the large banks' revenues come from private households. The Mizrachi Tefachot bank, for example, boasts that over 60% of its revenues are from loans and mortgages to private households. They are proud of this fact because loans to private households are considered safe.

As we all know, a private household is not a company Ltd. It consists of people, unlimited. Most of the families in Israel live in chronic overdraft and likely pay a month's salary in interest on their overdrafts annually. Simply put, the huge profits of the banks come from the biting interest paid to them by private households.

Banks have an important role in society by virtue of the fact that they are growth engines. In other words, banks are supposed to give loans to businesses, not to individuals. When an army veteran who wants to establish a business can get a loan from the bank at a reasonable interest rate that will allow him to stand on his own two business feet, return the loan and continue to make money - the bank has done an important service.

In addition, the large banks help us to administer our money. They take a commission for this, which is fine. After all, nobody wants to stand in line and get sacks of money on pay day, like in the old Westerns.

But the banks reap only half their profits from the above admirable services. The big money comes from the "pushovers" who are enticed to take out loans for their household needs or who go into overdraft. The banks do all they can to convince their customers to do just that.

And what is the problem with that?

When the bank makes a loan to a household, it is no longer an engine for growth. Instead, it becomes an engine for servitude. By the way, the interest on a bank loan to a private household is three times higher than the interest on loans to business clients. While the households are safer loans, they are also weaker. And if you are weak, more money can be squeezed out of you.

And what is the problem with that? After all, nobody is forcing people to take loans.

The problem is that it is not Jewish.


It's not Jewish. It is forbidden by the Torah. Read it for yourselves.

If you lend money to my nation, to the poor person with you, do not be a creditor to him, do not put interest upon him."
Do not take from him interest and annuity, and you shall fear your G-d, and your brother shall live with you."
You shall not charge interest of your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on any thing from which interest can be taken."

There are many more examples. Interest is a serious prohibition.

Even if the customer chooses to pay interest?

Yes, the prohibition is for both the lender and the borrower. Both the bank and its overdrawn customer transgress the prohibition against interest.

But we saw a rabbinic document on the wall of the bank, called heter iska. Doesn't that solve the Jewish law problems?

And if I serve you a glass of sewage water that has been purified, complete with the authorization of a laboratory - what would you prefer - the purified sewage or authentic spring water?

heter iska may solve the problem, but it is not in keeping with the original intention of the Torah. Because in truth, there is no business partnership involved here. When a bank makes a loan to a private person, it simply becomes a creditor of a loan with interest.

Does this mean that religious Jews don't go into overdraft?

Not at all. When it comes to national conduct outside the parameters of religion, the religious Jews are just as disconnected from reality - a.k.a. G-d - as are their secular counterparts.

The Torah was given to the Jews so that we would create an all-inclusive culture of liberty based on its tenets - in the Land of Israel. But when we were exiled from our Land, the Torah contracted from a culture to a religion. In the exile, there are no Jewish banks and the Rabbis had to invent all sorts of solutions that would allow the Jews to survive in their unnatural surroundings. The problem is that although we have returned to our Land, we still cling to the laws that were written for the exile and have not yet re-vitalized the Torah of the Land of Israel.

The people who established the State of Israel were not looking for a Jewish model of national conduct. They preferred the European model. That is how the nation that was the harbinger of liberty for the world became the world leader in subjugation to banks.

Do you really expect banks not to take interest?

I expect that they take only commission for services rendered for private customers.

Who would open a bank under those conditions?

A profit of one quarter billion instead of one half a billion is not enough?

And how will we manage without overdraft?

We will gain a full month's salary every year.

And if we need an urgent loan or mortgage?

For that we have free-loan societies. Jews know how to help each other -without interest.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Stop Waiting for Moshiach

by Shmuel Sackett

International Director, Manhigut Yehudit

I have stopped waiting for Moshiach and I suggest you do the same. This does not mean that I have given up hope… heaven forbid! It actually means the exact opposite.

Waiting for Moshiach implies despair and surrender. It means that everything has failed and all one can do is sit and wait… and wait… and wait.

Waiting for Moshiach implies that nothing positive can be done. It also means that things are no longer in our control. Examples that come to mind are “waiting for a train” where nothing can be done to bring the train earlier. Or “waiting to hear the test results from the doctor” which implies that nothing can be done until that phone rings with hopefully good news.

I have stopped waiting. Instead, I have decided to do what I can to bring Moshiach. I have no idea if I will be successful – that is for Hashem to decide – but I am certainly not going to use the tiny amount of time I have in this world to sit in some Yiddishe waiting room pacing back and forth.

Let me tell you two short stories which illustrate a problem we have in our Torah world. This past summer, I was in Cedarhurst, Long Island and had the pleasure of dovinning at a weekday 8AM minyan. A regular attendee at that minyan is Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz, a leading Rabbi in the Five Towns community. One morning, Rabbi Lefkowitz came to me with a gigantic smile on his face and said that he was going to Israel for a visit. We started schmoozing about his trip when I noticed a young Kollel student standing behind him, listening to our conversation. I asked the young married man, “Are you also going to Israel?” to which he quickly replied, “No, I am waiting for Moshiach.” Immediately upon hearing this, Rabbi Lefkowitz turned around and asked him, “You’re waiting for Moshiach? Did you ever think that maybe he is waiting for YOU???”

Story #2: I live in Herzilya and attend a daily Daf Yomi given by a wonderful Talmid Chacham from Bnei Brak. He is a sweet man who gives a marvelous shiur. He leaves his house every morning at 5:30 in order to arrive on time for the early minyan and the daf. I like him a lot, even though I differ with his way of thinking, as you will soon read. The Gemorah we are learning is “Avoda Zara” and last week the Gemorah discussed – in great detail - what can and cannot be sold to an idol worshipper. During the entire shiur all I kept thinking was that as we were learning these holy words, the Prime Minister of Israel was in Washington, meeting with the head terrorist called “Abu Mazen” in an effort to “sell” him parts of G-d’s holy land. I couldn’t take it any more and actually told the Rabbi that, “while the Gemorah tries to decide if we can sell straw to an idol worshipper, Bibi is negotiating to sell Hebron, Shechem and parts of Jerusalem to hands dripping with Jewish blood!” The answer I received shocked me. “If he were truly selling it, that would be one thing, but Bibi is trying to give it away for free!” I didn’t understand the difference and asked the Rabbi for a clarification. He said the following; “As you know, we are getting nothing in return. That is called giving it away for free and therefore I am totally against it. However, if we received a true peace in return then I would agree that it should be sold.” WHAT??? I immediately asked him how – even for true peace (an oxymoron in the Arab world) – would he be willing to part with a portion of G-d’s land and the eternal inheritance of the Jewish people? He answered, with a smile on his face – in front of the entire morning daf yomi – “Shmuel, relax. We can’t do all the work ourselves. Let’s leave something for Mosiach to do. After all, if we conquer and settle all the land now, what will be left for Moshiach?” With that comment, he ended our little discussion and continued teaching the daily daf…

Where does this thinking come from? Waiting for Moshiach or leaving something for Moshiach to do? I never learned that before. I was always taught that Bnei Yisrael said “Na’ah’seh v’nishma” (we will do and we will listen). Note how the “we will do” came first!!

We are a people of action, not of waiting. We are a nation who puts tremendous faith in G-d but believes in “hishtadlut” – serious effort. Yes, we pray. Yes, we scream, cry, beg and plead to our Father in Heaven. And then, when the dovinning is over, we train as soldiers, educate ourselves in a profession and build the land. We don’t wait… ever.

The day after the daf yomi story happened, I went to the Rabbi – with a very serious face - and said that I decided not to put on Tefillin any more. He said, “Shmuel, what happened?” I told him that according to all the sources, Moshiach has to fight both the physical battles – such as conquering the land which he mentioned – plus the spiritual battles as well. This means that Moshiach’s job will include returning all Jews to a Torah way of life. I told the Rabbi that he convinced me that we should leave something for Moshiach. Therefore, I said, “I will sin and let Moshiach bring me back in Teshuva. After all, if every Jew is religious, what will be left for Moshiach (his exact words!)???” He realized the point that I was making…

Sweetest Jews, do not fall into this trap of “waiting”. It is depressing, uninspiring, frustrating and down right anti-Jewish. Start taking serious action to bring Moshiach. Convince yourself that it is all dependent on you and your actions… which it is! Realize that Hashem wants to send Moshiach at this moment but we are simply not doing what needs to be done. Trust our holy Prophets and Rabbis who told us countless times that Moshiach can come speedily – way before the appointed time – if we only did the things to deserve his arrival.

Therefore, my bracha to you this new year is a very simple one. Stop waiting and start acting. When that happens, we will greet our King Moshiach on the Temple Mount in the beautiful city of Jerusalem and have a huge smile on our face knowing that he’s there because we brought him!!!

Moshe Feiglin on INN TV: Israel Urgently Needs Faith-Based Leadership

INN TV asked Moshe Feiglin this Sunday about his solution for Israel's crisis situation. Click here to watch this Hebrew interview or read the English transcript below:

We are graduates of Oslo. When Peres and Rabin came with their Oslo visions of peace, we hoped that the murders that were perpetrated immediately afterwards would make someone see the light. Today we know that that is just an illusion. The blood that was spilled will not stop those people who are in the "peace process" feeding frenzy.

There is only one way to stop it - and that is to replace the leadership with belief-based leadership; leadership that believes in G-d; leadership that understands our destiny and purpose as a Jewish Nation in the Land of Israel, in Jerusalem and in the Holy Temple.

Every gram of energy that is not invested in this goal - to replace the leadership in Israel with faith-based leadership - every gram of energy that is scattered in other directions - delays the process of stopping the collapse that we are experiencing.

We can do it and we must do it. And we will do it. We are not talking strictly about a political alternative. We are talking about an all-inclusive, ideological, complete alternative that we can present to the Nation of Israel and say: Here, you have an alternative, you have a life-line to grasp. You do not have to accept a nuclear bomb in Iran and you do not have to accept a wave of murders as being a fact of life: As if we have to talk to them and to take into account that while we talk they will murder Jews. We do not have to accept that. We can fight. We can stand on our own two feet.

We have no choice. We must have faith-based leadership. We must believe in it, persevere, insist, and connect to those who are creating it. It will happen, because we have no other choice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

G-d's Promises Unfolding Before our Eyes

By Michael Fuah

We are living in amazing times. While there are still people living among us who lived through " And G-d rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation," and the terrible curses from last week's Torah portion, we are already experiencing G-d's promises: "Then G-d your G-d will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where G-d your G-d has scattered you. If any of your dispersed will be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there will G-d your G-d gather you, and from there will He take you. And G-d your G-d will bring you into the Land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do good unto you, and multiply you above your fathers". (From this week's Torah portion, Netzavim-Veyelech, Deuteronomy 30: 2-5).

After almost 2000 years of exile, which culminated in the destruction and near annihilation of European Jewry, the promises of blessing and joy, ingathering of the exiles and the return to the Land of Israel are beginning to unfold before our eyes.

After the return to the Land of Israel, the Torah promises that a spiritual awakening will take place. "
And G-d your G-d will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your children, to love G-d your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 30:5) That awakening is in progress now.

There is an additional stage to this process. After the return to the Land of Israel and the Divine heart-circumcision, the Torah promises: "
And you will once again listen to the voice of G-d and you will fulfill all the commandments that I command you today." What sort of repentance is the Torah referring to? According to the progression in the Torah, at this stage we have already returned to the Land, our hearts have already been circumcised and we are already lovingly serving G-d with all our hearts and souls.

The additional stage of return is the return to a Jewish way of life on the national level. Until now, we have sufficed ourselves with perpetuating our exile-mode of private Jewish conduct in our homes or synagogues. Now we are being challenged to return to G-d, to make Him a part of all aspects of our national life. G-d's presence must be felt everywhere; in our approach to economy, education, politics, foreign affairs, security and more.

The Torah does not explain how we will reach the conclusion that we must return to Jewish political life that will fulfill the promise "And all the nations of the world will see that G-d's Name is called upon you." On this Rosh Hashanah, let us all pray that we will find the way to return to G-d on a national level with our own free will and joy in our hearts.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, September 02, 2010

From Yamit to the Building Freeze

By Moshe Feiglin

What can the faith-based public suggest as an alternative to the terrible situation currently facing Israel?

First, we must admit that until today we have never managed to halt Israel's process of collapse – not in Yesha and not outside it. Decades of demonstrations, countless PR campaigns and outreach projects, intelligent articles and even good satire that has begun to appear here and there – have not succeeded and apparently will not succeed in stopping the collapse.

Manhigut Yehudit in the Likud has also not succeeded in turning its political power inside the Likud into a tool that will prevent the collapse. We succeeded in forcing a Likud referendum on the Expulsion and we succeeded in adding a number of excellent MKs to the Likud list. We enjoyed many tactical successes. But we did not manage to prevent the strategic disintegration.

From the very start, Manhigut Yehudit has always reiterated that we did not enter the Likud to prevent retreats. Rather, we entered the Likud to establish an alternative for leadership for our country. Nevertheless, this week many journalists asked us if we would fight against the new political program that is gathering steam. Obviously, we will use our political power to the best of our ability. But judging by the results of the past, success or failure does not depend on us or on any other political factor.

Gush Emunim did not build the settlements. The Nation of Israel did. Gush Emunim leaders Hanan Porat, Beni Katzover and Daniella Weiss simply knew how to tug at the nation's romantic Zionist heartstrings. When the Nation of Israel willed it – the settlements were built. And when it no longer willed it, they were built no more. The faith-based public did not provide an alternative to the lost connection to our Land. It simply protested. Since the days of Yamit, we are still stopping the retreat from Sinai.

The struggles that we have led until now have not solved the problem. On the contrary; they have perpetuated it. After two thousand years of exile, the Nation of Israel returned to its Land and for some reason, decided to leave G-d outside. There are many explanations as to why the Return to Zion took place in this way. But today's reality is that the Jewish sovereignty that was renewed in the Land of Israel is playing on the "normalcy" arena according to the rules and values of the Western world.

Since the Six Day War of miracles, our demonstrations and claims against all the governments in Israel have been based on our acceptance of the axiom that this arena and these rules of the game are the best and most efficient possible. That is our greatest mistake. All the players that the national camp has put on the playing field were excellent leaders. Begin, Shamir, Sharon and Netanyahu – each in his own time – brought their own unique talents to the arena: Integrity and ideals, stubbornness, bravery and political acumen. Whoever thinks that he could lead the nation better on the existing arena and with the present rules is simply fooling himself.

In last week's update, we wrote about Israel's decision to buy F35 jets from the US. The debate in Israel over the purchase of the fighter jets was predicated on cost versus benefit. On the arena on which this game is being played, these are the only relevant considerations. Nobody would even think of asking if it is proper at all to use American jets.

On the surface, this is a superfluous question. The American jets are the best in the world and we need the most advanced weapons systems for our cutting edge air force. While this is true, a broader analysis will show us that the nuclear bomb that the modern-day Hitler will now clearly attain – was not halted by the American jets. Worse yet, these very jets are a major part of the reason that Iran will have its nuclear bomb: The main claim of those who opposed bombing Iran without Obama's consent was "What will Israel do without American spare parts for its fighter jets?"

We cannot cast the blame for Israel's impotence in the face of Iran's nuclear aspirations exclusively on the prime minister. The problem goes much deeper than that. Israel's collective mentality cannot think outside the box of the current arena and rules of the game. The problem with that is that these rules are leading to Israel's annihilation.

The solution, of course, is to create a new consciousness in Israel. We must establish an all-encompassing alternative to the present arena. It must be political and ideological, personal and practical.

When Israel will sense that it has an alternative, there will be a reason to go out and demonstrate. Perhaps, there will not even be a need to do so.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Nuclear Year

By Moshe Feiglin

22 Elul, 5770
September 1, '10

Translated from the Hebrew article in Makor Rishon.

As these words are being written, the door on Israel's military option to destroy the Iranian nuclear threat is being closed tight. An attack on a "hot" nuclear reactor near a crowded city is tantamount to dropping a nuclear bomb on a civilian population. It is not reasonable to think that Israel, which did not muster up the necessary courage to withstand the expected response to bombing cement and steel, will dare bomb a live nuclear reactor. If Israel does not attack Bushehr in the wee bit of time left – and clearly, it won't – we can sorrowfully say that Israel has failed miserably in dealing with this major existential challenge.

While Israeli society is busy with "life and death" issues like the reportedly forged Galant document or the trial of former president Katzav, the curtain is slowly closing on Israel's ability to prevent the modern day Hitler from equipping himself with nuclear weapons.

This does not mean immediate destruction of the State of Israel. It is much more likely that what will happen is a steady deterioration of Israel's sovereignty – a snowball that will be unstoppable using our current tools. A country that is incapable of halting an enemy that threatens to destroy it loses its deterrence and invites intensifying political and terrorist pressure. The "solution", as always, will be total retreat from Judea and Samaria, with an assortment of other solutions on the way to the final one.

This does not really surprise any Israeli. Deep down, the Nation of Israel has come to terms with this reality. The average Israeli lives his life on borrowed time, feels that reality is closing in on him and that the arena on which he lives is shrinking under his feet. The Iranian nuclear threat is one million times too big for the average citizen – no matter how intelligent he may be. In addition, Israelis receive a 24 hour a day brainwashing about Katzav, Galant and the latest reality show – and cannot begin to think about anything serious. They have no choice but to depend on Israel's political leadership.

In this seemingly impossible reality, our current leadership seems to be the best that we can hope for. Our government is exquisitely balanced between the Jewish majority - that has been totally desensitized by the media - and the leftist power elites in Israel's society. This government is being run without any major corruption scandals and maintains a high standard of living and government services for its citizens. What more can we ask for? And if this government did not manage to stop the Iranian bomb – then it must really be unstoppable.

To understand what can be done, we must understand the roots of the failure. Israel lost the battle against Iran in Gush Katif. The expulsion of the Jews and destruction of their settlements was justifiably understood by the world as an absolute admission of the justness of the "Palestinian" narrative. It "proved" that the "Palestinian" claims on the entire Land are true. A person doesn't readily volunteer to give up parts of his home. If he does so, he essentially recognizes the fact that the house belongs to the party claiming that all of it is his.

Since the Expulsion, pressure on Israel has not weakened, as the proponents of the "Disengagement" promised. On the contrary, it has intensified by leaps and bounds. The ethical backbone of those who "compromised for peace" was not strengthened. It completely disappeared. Achmadinijad lectures in the West, while Israel's ministers are wanted as international criminals.

The State of Israel that flees its Jewish identity and attempts to base itself on the values of enlightened man – in other words, on the values of the Western world – finds itself with no tools with which to deal with the international attack against its legitimate right to exist. From the Western mentality arena – enlightened, Christian, secular, seemingly practical – it is no longer possible to supply an answer to the existential threat hanging over Israel. It is amazing to see how although Israel is at its highest point ever both economically and militarily, we cannot effectively counter the most basic threat against us.

There is, though, a different mentality-arena on which we can play. At one point or another, we will have no choice but to stand upon it. No, it is not an expanded alliance with Greece or just one more maneuver on the existing, shrinking arena. It is the Jewish arena. When the State of Israel will firmly plant itself upon it, it will enjoy full justification for its existence. When Israeli society will make peace with its Jewish identity; when it will be willing to fight and make sacrifices for the values that derive from this identity - we will be able to announce our intention to bomb the nuclear reactor in Bushehr, give the civilian population ample time to evacuate – and destroy the threat.

The Public's Right Not to Know

By Moshe Feiglin

22 Elul, 5770
1 September, '10

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

Somebody here should establish the Society for the Public's Right
Not to Know.

For two weeks now, Israeli society has been bullied into the minutiae of the Galant document. There is nothing new about this scandal. The history of the appointment of the IDF's military brass is replete with intrigues and politics. The Galant story is just another episode in the same narrative, but the media is force-feeding it to the public as if this week Iran had crossed the point of no-return on its way to a nuclear bomb.

Oh yes, and there was something else this week. How could I forget? The trial of former president Katzav. I don't know how I managed all these years without the special authorization from the court to publicize the prosecution and defense concluding arguments. How fortunate we are to have such juicy descriptions with which to busy our minds during these steamy summer days.

Sadly, the Katzav story is really nothing new, either. Katzav is probably not one of the 36 righteous individuals on whom the world relies, but he doesn't seem to have broken the letter of the law, either. What is sure is that the media - and a number of other interested parties stirring up this foul mixture – are making a lot of money from the fact that the public has no right not to know.

All of us have been condemned to a steady stream of this sewage being pumped right into our brains. We can no longer think for ourselves. Every newscast, and half-hourly update, internet site, television broadcast, newspaper and everything in between must provide us with every last detail. Literally as if Iran had just crossed the point of no-return on its way to a nuclear bomb.

Another example from this past week? Is there anybody out there who doesn't understand the story behind the quaint letter that the prime minister's wife sent to Interior Minister Yishai about the children of foreign workers? Everybody realizes that the letter was staged in advance with the minister, himself. Everybody comes out of this story looking great. She is very sensitive, he is an effective and dedicated public servant.

The real boss in this country, the Supreme Court, has already neutralized the government's decision to expel 400 children of foreign workers. Its ruling that any foreign child who has already begun submitting documents (and the absolute majority has done so) to the Interior Ministry will be given an unlimited extension to attain all the necessary documents, means that the children will all be staying. In short, we are the audience in a soap opera that none of us has asked to see. But the saga is reported with such intensity that you would think that Achmadinijad – the despot who has announced his intention to wipe us off the map – had literally just crossed the point of no-return in his nuclear bomb production.

Where is the Society for the Public's Right Not to Know?

But there is something very important that we must know. As this article is being written, Iran is crossing the nuclear point of no-return The significance of the activation of the nuclear reactor in Bushehr is that now, if Israel bombs it, the effect will be like a nuclear strike on the city of Bushehr. In other words, the curtain has closed on Israel's military option against the most serious threat to its survival since the State of Israel was established. Because if Israel did not dare bomb the reactor before it was activated, it will obviously not destroy it once it is "hot."

So there you have it. There is only one thing not being discussed in Israel's media: The fact that Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold on its way to realizing its dream of destroying Israel. Not that the subject has not been reported at all. I have heard it on the news. But today, when the media chooses to hide an item, they do not remove it. They bury it under mountains of irrelevance. When, for example, have you last heard about Anat Kam, who is accused of treason and espionage against Israel? Does anyone doubt how this story would be reported if the innocent lass had been ultra-Orthodox or a settler from Yitzhar?

The Galant document is a "terrible fiasco" that is reported minute by minute, 24 hours a day. The Katzav trial is earth-shaking news. Sarah Netanyahu's letter – of urgent importance. But the fact that we are failing in the most important existential challenge that we have faced since Israel's establishment – and that the modern-day Hitler has no more obstacles on his way to the nuclear bomb – is not newsworthy.

If we would have a Society for the Public's Right Not to Know, it may be that our brains – stuffed full of ridiculous news items - would have some space to analyze this unimportant piece of information.