Daily Israel Report

MK Feiglin: Why I Keep a Hole Punch on the Floor

Following the latest sexual allegations scandal, Likud MK tells the public how he avoids the similar pitfalls.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/25/2014, 1:20 PM

Men and women: what are the rules?
Men and women: what are the rules?
Thinkstock

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) shared some insights with his Facebook followers Tuesday about the latest scandal involving sexual allegations against a senior personality – this time, Minister Silvan Shalom.

"Something in this whole story has remained in the shadows,” he wrote. “Something that no one wants to talk about – we all pretend not to see it, like the nudity of the emperor, which the crowd sees but continues to cheer for his new clothes.”

"Anyone who comes to my office, will always find an office paper punch on the floor, next to the door. There are no holes to be punched down there, on the carpet. It is there so that if a female guest should happen to enter my office when no one else is present, I will use the tip of my shoe to move the hole punch so that it stops the door from completely closing.”

Feiglin notes that this precept is a part of Jewish halakha, with regard to 'yihud,' or meetings between men and women – but says that he may well be stricter than most in observing it. “I do not do so because I am overzealous in my religion,” he says. “I do it because this halakha makes a lot of sense.

"The development of the legislation against against sexual harassment is, of course, a good thing, but alongside it, there is a hypocritical demand to call all licentious behavior 'harassment' or 'assault.' The situation is one in which we place firefighters on alert at every corner, open the fire hoses and flood the living room with water even when we do not know for certain that a fire has broken out. We soak everything with water, we destroy, we ruin careers and families – all in order to deter and prevent fires, and I respect that...

"But somehow, this respect does not cling to our behavior, because along with the war against every spark of flame or imagined flame, we pour – into exactly the same spot – more and more gasoline, and matches, and every possible combustible material and means of ignition.

Without directly accusing the complainant of lying, Feiglin cast doubt on her interpretation of her own behavior. He also found a way to show that the path pointed out by Jewish halakha, in matters like this one at least, is simply the right path to go down, as far as common sense is concerned. 

"What does it mean when [the complainant says], 'He called me to his hotel room and he sat there with a bathrobe and said, come sit beside me on the bed, and I was very confused.'

“Hello? How old were you, exactly? Five? Did you really fail to understand the situation?

"This story, and especially its timing, appear very suspicious to me. But without going into the question of whether it happened or not, I am examining the story itself, as it was told.

"I mean, the complainant thought carefully about the details she intends to reveal. And in the culture that we have developed here in the last 15 years – culture that supposedly seeks to protect women – we have effectively turned women into five-year-olds. Five-year-olds do, indeed, require protection, and are not responsible for their actions, either.

"'Mister minister, it is not proper for me to go up to your room, I will meet you in the lobby of the hotel.'

"That, in effect, is the secret of the hole punch. To push away the matches from the scene. I understand that inside me, like any other normal person, there are flammable materials – so I push away the matches. But in our culture, the free talk, the provocative attire, the kissing and the touching, and it's all cool, nice, very fun-loving and Israeli – until suddently there is a complaint and suddenly everyone is a saint... everyone is ultra-religious...

"So there is a state of cultural imbalance here that needs to change, into a reponsible society in which both sexes take responsibility – including the women.”

 

On May 1, 2013, MK Feiglin established the Knesset Caucus for the Family. He spoke, then, of a multi-pronged conspiracy against the idea of the traditional family. He has revealed that upon taking office, he met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who asked him what position he aspires to hold in the 19th Knesset. Feiglin replied that he would like to chair a Committee for Family Matters. Netanyahu pointed out that such a committee does not exist at present, and Feiglin answered that it was time to establish one.