The following are translated excerpts from Moshe Feiglin’s interview on Radio Akko, 26 Kislev, 5778/Dec. 13, ‘17
Were you surprised by President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem?
Yes, in fact, I was surprised. I knew that PM Netanyahu was preventing Trump from moving the embassy, but it happened anyway. It turns out that the Evangelicals, who wield great political power, worked hard to get the President to make this declaration.
Yes, but it doesn’t look like the embassy will be moving any time soon.
True. The truth is that all that is needed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a screwdriver. Symbolically, all that has to be done is to remove the embassy sign from Tel Aviv and to put it up on the entrance to the US consulate on Agron Street in Jerusalem. So Trump could have symbolically made the move, but he didn’t. I think that this is an expression of Netanyahu’s counter-pressure. Nevertheless, I do not make light at all of President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem. I see it as a completion of the Balfour Declaration. We can say that the Balfour Declaration was the international recognition of the Jewish People’s physical connection to the Land of Israel and that the Trump Declaration takes up it to the spiritual level. It recognizes the connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem, as the beating heart of our country.
Do you think that the declaration should precipitate a change in Israeli policy?
Yes. Essentially, the Trump Declaration is a blank piece of paper that the US handed to Israel’s government. We recognize your connection to Jerusalem, they say – now do whatever you want.
PM Netanyahu has two options: Thunderous applause, public expressions of thanks, while actually letting that blank paper fly away into the wind and continuing as if nothing really happened. Unfortunately, that looks like the option he has chosen.
What should be done is to pour meaning into the Declaration. Israel should immediately move its entire government apparatus to the eastern part of Jerusalem. That includes the Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Office, all ministerial offices and the High Court.
We like to deceive ourselves, but Zionism never really wanted the Old City of Jerusalem, which includes its beating heart, the Temple Mount.
Moshe Dayan called it “that Vatican”.
Yes, in 1948 the Palmach had already liberated the Old City and the besieged Jewish Quarter, and immediately exited – abandoning it to Jordan.
In 1967, the conquering of the Old City was essentially forced on Israel’s government against its will. And even after it was liberated, Moshe Dayan hurried to give the keys to the Temple Mount to the Moslem wakf.
That is true of the Temple Mount. But the Israeli government did clear out the Western Wall Plaza.
The Western Wall was their way of channeling all our aspirations for holiness from the Temple Mount to a different place. The Western Wall Plaza was created for this purpose.
And then last winter, the strange story of the metal detectors. The Arabs threatened that they would no longer go to the Temple Mount and Netanyahu caved in. He was afraid that the Temple Mount would be left to the Jews. There is a lack of ability here to go in the direction that Jerusalem leads us.
What do you say about all the Arab demonstrations that erupted after the Declaration, and certainly the attempted terror attack in New York?
If anybody has a problem understanding what is so good about the Trump Declaration, all they have to do is look at the Arab response. If the Arabs think it is so bad, it must be good for the Jews.
Something big really did happen. When the world’s superpower recognizes the fact that the city that is considered holy by the three monotheistic religions belongs to the Nation of Israel, that means that G-d’s message will be heralded by the Nation of Israel. This is the theological, metaphysical meaning of the declaration. The Balfour Declaration was also motivated by the purely theological beliefs of the British PM and Foreign Minister of that time. That declaration brought about the establishment of the State of Israel. There is a direct connection between the Bible, religious faith and politics. It is impossible to ignore it. Whether you are a believer or not, this factor is what turns the wheels of history.
Do you think that after this declaration there is a chance for an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians?
First of all , I am in favor of reality. President Trump also declared that he is just recognizing the reality on the ground. As long as the parties’ actions are dictated by an illusion, by a false reality, there is no chance to achieve peace, security or anything else. In your question, you referred to the “Palestinians”. But there is no Palestinian Nation. So your entire question is based on this false illusion.
Moshe Feiglin, Chairman of the Zehut party, thank you very much.