Op-Ed: Position Paper: Part II
Moshe FeiglinThe writer, former MK and Speaker of the Knesset, is head of the Zehut...
(For part 1, click here)
Economy: Capitalism, Charity and Kindness
Everyone is rightfully praising Minister Moshe Kachlon for lowering the price of cell phone use, calling him the "social minister." But the minister implemented his cell-phone revolution with free-market principles. Real capitalism – the kind that is truly equal opportunity – turns out to be the most social-oriented tool that allows people to live in relative affluence and to enjoy the fruits of their labor without institutionalized robbery.
Judaism sanctifies the connection between a person and his possessions. This is unparalleled in any other culture. However, Jewish economics is not exactly like the more familiar Western capitalism that exhausts itself and becomes a tool in the service of a thin slice of society. The motto of the rest of the world is: What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours.
Jews recognize that everything comes from G-d and is simply deposited in our hands. This means that charity and kindness to others are not voluntary; they are our obligation toward He Who deposited the wealth in our hands.
Israel must privatize its assets to the public and not control cores as per the model of Yaron Zelicha, who recommended privatizing Israel's Bank Leumi to the bank accounts of the public.
Religion and State: No Coercion
I oppose religious legislation and would be happy to see religious political parties disappear. The Creator does not need them. There is no law in Israel that requires parents to circumcise their sons. But the vast majority of Jews in Israel do so, nevertheless, because it is part of our culture. On the other hand, there is a law in Israel that prohibits the sale of chametz on Passover. But that law is openly violated because the Torah has not yet become an integral part of Israeli culture. Laws should express culture, not attempt to create it.
I am opposed to all types of coercion – both religious and secular. It is impossible to force a person to rest on Shabbat, or to force a soldier to listen to women singing (a totally ridiculous issue). I see discrimination against women as despicable. But it is impossible to force an ultra-Orthodox bus company to institute mixed seating on its buses against the wishes of its customers. It is impossible to prohibit homosexuals from parading in places where the majority of the public is not offended by their march. But it is impossible to force a neighborhood in which the majority of residents will be offended by a homosexual parade to host such an event.
The idea of civil marriage is correct. Israel must allow the Ministry of Interior to issue marriage licenses to non-Jews, which will include all the privileges associated with a marriage license. However, we cannot force the halakhic (Jewish law) authority to afford the status of Jew to those people who are not recognized as such by Jewish law.
The local community should decide what should be opened on Shabbat.
Draft and Equality: A Volunteer Army
Israel's population in the sixties and seventies was half of what it is today. Organized armies sat on our borders, waiting for the command to destroy us. Nevertheless, army service was two and a half years and women did not serve in combat units. Today, the only regular army that is a threat to Israel is the Egyptian army (thanks to our peace treaty with Egypt) that is at the opposite end of the demilitarized Sinai. War has transformed into a high-tech, guerilla conflict. Nevertheless, soldiers are now drafted for three years, because the IDF is considered the "People's Army."
The IDF does not need all these new draftees and has admitted as much to a number of committees that it has established. Obligatory draft is fine for actual war. But it severely contradicts the principle of liberty. Israel should gradually move transform the IDF into a professional volunteer army. It will be able to choose the best and brightest of the volunteers and to compensate them accordingly. These volunteers will receive the best professional and academic training. The rest of the draft age people – men and women – will be drafted, do a short basic training and will be immediately discharged. In an emergency, these people can be drafted for service on the home front or for further training. This will make the question of draft for sectors who are not interested in army service redundant.
Jerusalem: Full Sovereignty – Especially on the Temple Mount
The precondition for victory is belief in the justice of one's cause.
When Israel recognized the existence of a nation without a history and its right to its heartland in Oslo, we lost our most important weapon; belief in the justice of our cause. When the Hamas talks in the name of justice and Israel talks only in the name of pragmatism and the right to defend ourselves – the most state of the art weapons will not help. The side that does not believe that it is just cannot win. Victory has become a dirty word in the army lexicon.
We cannot convince the world that we believe that this is our Land if we do not restore our complete sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – the most holy site to Judaism that has been out of our control for years.
When we return to ourselves and to our justice, we will be able to triumph and to wipe out any enemy.
Gaza: Revoke the Oslo Accords
There is no solution for Gaza if we do not understand that we are not colonialists and that Israel is our Land. I oppose endangering our soldiers in a ground assault on Gaza if we intend to subsequently exit the area. The fact that Israel continues to provide electricity and cash to those who target its citizens is completely unreasonable. Israel must engage in a Defensive Shield type of operation in Gaza (editor: in which Israeli forces re-captured areas of Judea and Samaria from which Oslo had dictated that they retreat) destroy the Hamas, restore security to southern Israel and return to the infinitely better situation that we had there prior to the Oslo Accords. Ultimately, Israel must relate to Gaza as it does to Judea and Samaria.
The Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza: Permanent Residency
The Land of Israel is our Land and we will never leave it. Israel must declare sovereignty over all parts of the Land that are in our hands, as the Likud Charter requires. Israel's Arabs enjoy all rights – even more than Israel's Jewish citizens. The Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza can be offered permanent residency status. This status will afford them full human rights and most of the services that the State of Israel gives its citizens. It will be forbidden to do to them what we did to our own brothers in Gush Katif. Israeli citizenship will be granted to those non-Jews who have tied their fate to Israel and who have proven their loyalty to the State. Those Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza who insist on voting for a parliament may do so in any one of the 22 amazing democracies that the Arab Nation has established since World War I.
The Iranian Threat: No Foreign Involvement
One lesson of the Holocaust is that negation of the victims' legitimacy precedes actual physical destruction. The Holocaust of the Jews of Europe did not begin in 1939 when the war broke out. It began in 1933 when Hitler became chancellor of Germany and, as head of state, began to espouse his threats to destroy the Jews. When the war broke out, a question mark already hovered over the right of the Jews to exist.
When the leader of a sovereign nation prepares to destroy Israel and publicly declares his intentions, he negates our legitimacy. This is the correspondence that we see between Ahmadinijad's hate speeches and the accelerating process of de-legitimization of Israel in the Western world.
It is a fatal mistake to involve the world in the Iranian issue. If the world solves the problem, Israel will always be forced to pay for the right to breathe air on the face of the earth. He who threatens to destroy us loses his own right to exist. Think of how many lives would have been saved if the free world had understood this and killed Hitler before he embarked on World War II.
America: No Foreign Aid
Israel should have foregone American foreign aid long ago. The foreign aid that Israel receives from America amounts to 4% of its GNP. Israel exports to America approximately one third more than it imports.
When America owes 16 trillion dollars to China, it is not reasonable that a much better-off country like Israel should expect donations. Israel's relationship with the US should be based on common interests and values between strategic partners.
Israel must demand the release of Jonathan Pollard and expel the US spies who fill our country.
We Still Have a Long Way to Go
My election to the Knesset is an important stage in the journey that began with the establishment of Zo Artzeinu and continued with the establishment of Manhigut Yehudit and our integration into the Likud. I do not know what role the Prime Minister will offer me. I am particularly interested in a position of influence in education, housing or security. But any position that will foster my efforts to advance the liberty, Jewish identity and meaning of the Jewish State are relevant.
My insistence on advancing my agenda from within the national ruling party was not the easy route to the Knesset. I could have been a Knesset Member long ago with a sectoral party that has no influence. In the face of the relentless zigzagging of Israeli politics and the embarrassing paucity of ideas in the ideological marketplace, my political opponents can also benefit from the contrast that my ideology provides.
Plans for the Future
I intend to help the Likud, the government and the Prime Minister – who I greatly respect - as much as possible. When the time comes to elect a new leader for the Likud, I plan to run once again in order to advance the Jewish liberty alternative for leadership of Israe.