By Sarah Haetzni Cohen
Published in the Ma’ariv and Makor Rishon newspapers and websites on August 7, ‘16
Despite the temptation, we are leaving politics outside the realm of this interview. But even the details of Feiglin’s state plan are not the main point. The main point is what is behind it: the consciousness, the ideas, the identity, as his political party is called. “I don’t want to start with the solution. I want to start with the goal. When people ask ‘What is your solution?’, I answer: ‘The solution to what?’ What problem is the Right’s plan trying to solve? Due to the fact that we have been sucked into the Left’s mentality, we try to suggest solutions to their problem – not ours. We have a different problem. When we correctly define it, it will become clear that we have a more applicable solution than we think.
With Oslo, the Left created a certain consciousness. Today, everyone is talking about the two-state solution and dividing the Land. What is the difference between the two states of Herzog or Netanyahu? Unfortunately, Netanyahu also adopted the Oslo principles. We are captive to the Oslo consciousness – both Left and Right. This is where it all begins.”
How do you define the problem? What is your goal?
My goal is to create a political infrastructure to actualize the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. Let me explain. In the first stage of Oslo they claimed that the goal was peace. But if peace was really the goal, then the moment that the Accords caused violence and exploding buses, the Left should have said, ‘We’re sorry, we were mistaken’. Clearly, Oslo did not bring peace. So why does the two-state solution retain its star status?
The goal of Oslo was not peace. Rather it was the eradication of the Jewish identity of the State of Israel and its replacement with the new Israeli-ness. Ron Pundak, one of the architects of Oslo, said so in a January 2014 interview: ‘I want peace so that there will be Israeli-ness. Israelization of society instead of its Judaization.’
One of the ideas at the foundation of Zionism is normalcy, to be a nation like all other nations. The Left began to understand that we did not achieve normalcy by force, in this Texas ranch that we established in the heart of the Middle East. They understood that we would not achieve normalcy by preferring territory over peace, so they changed direction: Instead of striving to achieve normalcy by means of the Land of Israel, they are now attempting to achieve normalcy by means of giving up the Land of Israel. Judea and Samaria are the parts of the Land that connect us most to our Jewish identity. But the Left wants to be rid of its Jewish identity both physically and as a society. They want to be rid of the people who live in Judea and Samaria – those people who they say are trying to drag us two thousand years back in time.
The Immigration Experiment Succeeded
Before he presents his plan, it is important for Feiglin to emphasize that it is based on the understanding of ‘what we want’ and is not an attempt to merely control the damage done by the Left or to find ‘practical’ steps. He is talking about the actualization of a worldview predicated on two basic principles. The first is ‘One nation, one land, one G-d’ and absolute refusal to make Israel a state of all its citizens. The second principle is the safeguarding of human rights. “I advocate the application of complete sovereignty in the entire Land of Israel. The border is the Jordan River and all the Oslo terminology is null and void. There is no such thing as Areas A, B and C. Israel has every reason to immediately nullify the Oslo Accords.”
If you were to become the Prime Minister tomorrow, what steps would you take?
I am proposing the end of the Occupation and the end of terror. I am also proposing the end of the insane amount of money that we spend until this very day on the two-state dream. Until today, Oslo has cost us more than one trillion shekels. All of this will be accomplished while fully safeguarding the human rights of the Arabs. In the next Operation Defensive Shield, which is just a matter of time, we will begin to apply sovereignty, and of course, remove the Separation Fence. The next military operation, which is a necessary part of reality, will be carried out with a strategy, with the vision of the Right and not the dream of the Left. Not like Operation Protective Edge, the main guiding factor of which was not to conquer Gaza. Practically speaking, at the moment that we make a military incursion into a certain area, we will clean it of all hint of foreign sovereignty and of every hostile bearer of weapons. In Ramallah, Shechem and Jericho there will be a police force with an Israeli flag, just like there was before Oslo. Whoever fights against us will be eliminated or banished from Israel. Armed terrorists will not remain in Israel. Either you are a citizen and will be prosecuted in a criminal court, or you are an enemy against whom we wage war.
What will be done with the territory in which you applied sovereignty?
There will be a tactical stage, in which it will be necessary to control the territory until the justice system will be changed. We will give the Arab population in those territories three options: The first is voluntary emigration with the aid of a generous emigration grant. The second is permanent residency, similar to the “Green Card” status in the US – not like what is currently the practice in East Jerusalem. This status will be offered to those Arabs who publicly declare their loyalty to the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish Nation. We will safeguard their human rights and will not do anything like we did to ourselves in Gush Katif. The third option will be reserved for relatively few Arabs, and only in accordance with Israeli interests. Those who tie their fate to the fate of the Jewish Nation, like the Druze, can enter a long-term process of attaining citizenship.
I ask Feiglin to give me details on the ‘voluntary emigration’ that he advocates; the Evacuation-Compensation of Gush Katif applied to the Arabs. He describes a small experiment that he conducted, in which he publicized an advertisement on Arab websites with an offer to immigrate and work in Germany. For the experiment, he found a manpower company that claimed to have thirty thousand open jobs. After four hours, they were forced to remove the ads from the websites due to the vast number of inquiries that they generated.
Feiglin’s assessment is that the numbers support the success of the plan: The need exists for the Arabs and the will exists for Israel. As far as countries willing to absorb these immigrants, he cites research that he did as a Knesset Member. Countries like Canada told him that “We will roll out the red carpet for someone who arrives with fifty thousand dollars in his pocket.”
“You have to understand that our world is desperate for skilled labor,” says Feiglin. The West suffers from negative demographic growth and their workforce is shrinking. Now the question is who will they accept: The Sudanese immigrant who has built mud huts or the immigrant from Ramallah, who has built skyscrapers and who will arrive with tens of thousands of dollars in his pocket?”
The generous emigration package that Feiglin is proposing is not based on the state budget. Instead, it will come from resources dedicated today to actualization of the two-state concept. “Before Oslo, there was not a security guard at the entrance to every café, there was not an entire terror victim department in Social Security and I used to have my car repaired in the heart of Gaza. True, we still had our justified fears, but there is no comparison to the situation today.
The emigration package will include the purchase of the real estate of the emigrants for a respectable sum. Those who leave will have a sum of money that will help them to build their lives in a better place. Israel will also provide assistance in the search for a host country.
There are 1.4 million Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, according to research provided by Yoram Ettinger and his staff of demographers. The Jewish birthrate is on the rise, the Arab birthrate is rapidly sinking. Even if we were to offer citizenship to all the Arabs of Judea and Samaria – and that is not what I propose – we would still outnumber them. According to polls, more than 60% would like to emigrate. Last year alone, approximately fifteen thousand Arabs left Judea and Samaria.
And what about the rest of the Arabs? Would you provide them with education and health care?
I will not provide education and health care for the residents of Tel Aviv, either. We need as little government as possible. When the State will remove its long arm from where it does not have to be and focus on what it should be doing, which is providing security and a justice system – life here will be much easier. The Arabs of Judea and Samaria will pay taxes like everyone else. And if they resort to terror – they will be punished.
A Painful, Yet Necessary – Rectification
Feiglin easily refutes the Left’s claim that application of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria without affording full citizenship to the Arabs living there is problematic. “The Left likes to say that sovereignty and citizenship must go together, but that is a lie. The US captured the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, for example, and did not grant citizenship to the local residents. Israel was established for the express purpose of providing a state in the Land of Israel for the Jewish Nation. It is perfectly fine for it to create a separate civil status while safeguarding the human rights of the non-Jews
Our opposition to automatically granting voting rights to non-Jews as soon as sovereignty is declared is based on principle. The State of Israel was established to be the state of the Jewish Nation. Israel must express this principle and defend it.”
What is your view on the Gaza Strip?
Gaza is complicated, but ultimately, there will be no choice and the same solution will apply there, as well. During the Protective Edge campaign, I opposed the IDF entry into Gaza if the purpose of the incursion was to leave yet another time.
So it’s all or nothing?
In this case, yes. Justice cannot be cut in half. Oslo is also all or nothing. It implied that nothing belongs to us – not Sderot and not Tel Aviv. That is why it is now being attacked. Oslo was the beginning of the final deterioration of Israel’s international integrity. The Balfour Declaration became the original sin and Israel became an error.
And what about Jerusalem?
Jerusalem is the biggest lie of all. It is always on the negotiating table. ‘He who rules the Mount rules the entire Land’. Everything begins with the Temple Mount. If we leave the Moslem wakf there, Jerusalem will burn. If we do not remove the decaying tooth, the inflammation will spread. The wakf must be removed from the Temple Mount and the site must be recognized by Israel as a Jewish holy place. We must see ourselves as the rightful owners of the Mount, not as guests.
How will the world react to this plan?
When Israel tells the truth and expresses its moral foundations, the world accepts its approach. When Israel surrenders – the very opposite occurs. After the Six Day War, when we forcibly captured Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our international standing became vastly improved. On the other hand, when Israel implemented the Disengagement from Gaza – which on the surface, was what the world wanted – we uprooted all the Jews and left every last grain of sand – our international standing worsened.
There will be international pressure during the first stages and we will have to withstand it. But the world supports us when we are right and actively opposes us when our actions prove that we are not just. The main point is justice and resilience.
Close to the end of the interview, Feiglin wishes to clarify a point. “In Oslo, we lost the sense of the justice of our cause and until we restore it, we will not be able to solve anything. Today we say that this is not our land and the world demands that we leave it. Justifiably so. The world mirrors our own approach. ‘You are sitting on Palestinian land,’ they say, ‘and you even complain when they oppose you and stab you. If it is not yours, leave.’