The optimistic proponent of coordinated political and extra-parliamentary activism told over a story that he had recounted over the public address system in Shirat HaYam as thousands of police and soldiers surrounded the small beach community.
“A member of the Border Guard police came to a Rabbi Stavsky, who told me this story,” Feiglin said. “The officer told the rabbi he wanted to learn more about Judaism and make peace with wrongs he had committed.”
The policeman had taken part in destroying the house of Avri Ran, one of the pioneers of the hilltop movement, who lives outside the Shomron community of Itamar and produces organic eggs sold throughout Israel. The policeman’s conscience was torturing him and he asked the rabbi how he could possibly repent for what he had done to Ran.
“The rabbi told him he must go to Avri personally and beg forgiveness,” Feiglin said. “At first he would not forgive, but he came back and he asked him again and again and finally, as is required by Jewish law, he did.
“He came back to the rabbi and said, ‘He forgave me.’
“ ‘That’s not enough,’ said the rabbi. ‘You must go back and fix exactly what you did. You must go to this outpost and build the house again.’
“This fellow went back and worked for months and with his own ten fingers built a new house.”
Feiglin said that after he finished telling the story over the Shirat HaYam loudspeaker, complete silence filled the area, which was crawling with forces already breaking into residents homes to forcibly remove them.
“I said [to the soldiers and officer], I want to ask you one favor – for yourselves. Write down the names of those you are kicking out of their homes, and take a number from them at which you will be able to reach them – because there are so many of them that when you realize that you want to ask their forgiveness and rebuild their homes, you will hot have as easy a time tracking them down as this Border Guard policeman did.
“I looked outside and there was a lieutenant-general outside the window – and he was crying like a baby.”
Feiglin concedes that although many soldiers cried, there was far less refusal than was expected among IDF soldiers.
“We can no longer blame a German soldier, who was brainwashed from birth and who would have faced much worse than two weeks in jail for refusing orders," Feiglin said. “Our own hesder [yeshiva student] soldiers were told by rabbis to fulfill these orders.”
Looking on the bright side, Feiglin pointed out that the phenomenon of military discipline will one day work to the advantage of the Land of Israel movement. “When we will be in charge and lead this nation, this exact same army – not exactly the same upper echelon, but these same soldiers – will run and build the Holy Temple when they receive the order.”
In terms of other aspects of the struggle that went wrong, Feiglin said he had many accounts to settle with regard to the behavior of the Yesha Council and rabbis who told their students to obey orders, but that “from this point we must only look forward.”
“We can expend a lot of energy right now looking backwards and settling accounts. There is a lot to say, and it should be said, but not by me, and not by Manhigut Yehudit, because right now we must focus on uniting all members of this Orange army that has formed and focus it on one single goal: Jewish leadership for the state of Israel.
“I made a mistake. I said before the Disengagement that there would be no Disengagement because we would not allow it. I was mistaken. I was mistaken because in a democracy you can use non-violence and win, but when there is not really democracy, it does not work. Against terrorism, you cannot win, unless you are willing to use terrorism.
“Yair Stern wrote a line: ‘Either die or conquer the mountain.’ Either they are going to destroy us – and it will not stop at the Green Line – or we must take the reins and be the ones giving the orders to the generals. We are never going to shoot soldiers from rooftops and we are not going to kidnap the daughter of Aharon Barak – that is not what we are about.”
According to Feiglin, the circumstances in Israel today have set the stage for the rise of real Jewish leadership to lead the Jewish State. “We have tremendous energies that have surfaced now,” he said. “Our youth hiked through the fields to Gush Katif and into the valleys toward Sa-Nur – they are just not focused. We must grab the energies and focus them – but on what?”
“In two months there are going to be primaries in the Likud. G-d gives us exactly the time and circumstances needed…These are the same people that voted against the Disengagement plan despite the fact that polls showed they would vote for it. In the two weeks before the Likud referendum, the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza left their homes and visited the simple Likudniks, the nationalists. And when the faithful and the national people came together there was natural chemistry.
“It is going to be much harder to convince these people to vote for Feiglin instead of Netanyahu than it was to convince them that the Disengagement was wrong, but I believe it is possible. I am not certain we will win right now, but we can. It is possible. If we create a real Jewish and faithful alternative for leadership in Israel – it will send a shock through Israeli society. It will wipe the smile of the faces of the self-haters who think they have buried us in the sand of Gush Katif. They will pale at the sight of us rising like a phoenix from the sand of Gush Katif to the leadership of the State of Israel.”
Click here to hear the complete speech on Israel National Radio