By Gali Bat Horin
These are translated excerpts from a brilliant Facebook post written by journalist Gali Bat Horin, a self-described leftist/rightist who attended the Zehut Conference Tuesday evening.
Yesterday, I attended the First Zehut Conference, where Moshe Feiglin presented his new party, Zehut, under the slogan “To be a free Jew”.
Who are you, Moshe Feiglin?
In the course of the evening, I heard many speakers. There were religious fanatics alongside anarchists, emancipationists with an uncompromising approach toward individual liberties, willing to rebel against all public authority. Religious messianism alongside pragmatism and realpolitik, original thinkers who can be potentially dangerous, but perhaps will herald the message to free Israel from the dead end in which we have been stuck for 50 years. There were rational voices with practical solutions alongside the poetry of dreamers.
This diversity would have been nice and enriching, glorifying any large, whole and diverse party – if all of these had not been – one Feiglin.
Feiglin is not a rightist, despite his resolve on the Land of Israel issue. The Right feels threatened by him, perhaps justifiably so. He is too original to be anticipated and it seems that he thoroughly enjoys his ability to shake up old dogmas - not something that the conservative Right can bear.
Part of the Left, on the other hand, may, by my estimate, connect to the most solid and significant face of this enigmatic and dialectic man – and that is his serious commitment to bring about freedom for humanity.
A leader who sees the state mechanisms as a hampering and hindering factor cannot be nationalist. In this way, he is much more of an anarchist. But his anarchism is not of the universal type, as he is firmly attached to Jewish identity as an anchor for liberty.
That is liberty to…and not liberty from…
The freedom to be what you are - not the freedom to do whatever you want. There is no harder and all-encompassing task for a person than the constant struggle to remain faithful to his inner essence.
Feiglin is a philosopher. Whether you like his views or not, he is as smart as can be, a rational utopian who regards the welfare of the individual with the utmost importance – but his method is the opposite of the social/socialists. He is deeply religious and aspires to build the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – but abhors all forms of religious coercion. He really thinks that every Jew – in his own way – has his own place in the mosaic, which will not be complete without him.
It is a given that every politician will try to make himself likeable to constituents from all walks of life, that he will want to promise everyone that he will be the person fighting for their conflicting goals and aspirations. Skilled politicians do this by blurring their opinions so that, just like the oracle, every person hears and understands only what he is interested in hearing. Feiglin does just the opposite. He expresses his ideas lucidly and cogently, with self-confidence that looks like it is drawn from an internal sense of conviction. It is as if he doesn’t know – or doesn’t care - how much a non-observant person like myself cringes to hear straight talk about the Holy Temple. He doesn’t give any discounts to his ultra-Orthodox listeners, either, when he presents the homosexual candidate for his party list. Or when he openly talks about transfer as a solution that convincingly sounds like it actually serves the concepts of liberty and justice.
Maybe it works because he has discovered something essential that naturally and organically succeeds in integrating everything – something that is so basic that it can actually contain all paradoxes. Something to which I connect – not necessarily from my Jewish identity, but from my self-identity. Something that I see as the most important human project and the greatest human challenge of our era.
One thing is for sure – today Feiglin proved that he can inspire an audience – an audience that is made up of the most diverse mix that has yet been seen, in an Israeli mosaic that represents almost all the population.
The most interesting question right now is if this group of people represents no more than an anomalous collection from every camp, sect and origin. Are they no more than those rare individuals with independent thinking? Or are they a true representation of the nation?
Because if the second possibility is correct, then it is not improbable to say that what we saw here today are the beginning steps of the next prime minister.