Special Interview: Moshe Feiglin returns to the ring

'Zehut' Party founder grants Arutz Sheva interview ahead of opening conference: 'Message burning in my bones: State must fulfill mission'.

Yoni Kempinski , | updated: 6:51 PM

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Moshe Feiglin, former Knesset member, founder and candidate to head the Zehut ("Identity") party, imparts his political, economic, and social philosophy in an exclusive and extended interview with Arutz Sheva.

Feiglin is not hesitant to say he is preparing for elections and says the government is in its final stretch: "An average government in Israel serves two-and-a-half years, so we are in the final stretch of an average term and this conference brings Zehut into the political dialogue. We will vote in our convention using the primary system. Following the conference we will create tools such as a political slogan and campaign slogans. This conference is going to be unique, full of passion and culture, joy and hope."

The interview was conducted on the eve of the first party conference to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv port. In anticipation of the convention Feiglin, whose original goal was to take over the Likud from within, explains why he is returning to politics with a new party. Feiglin challenged Netanyahu unsuccessfully in the vote for chairmanship of the Likud three times, beginning in 2003, served a brief tenure as a Likud Knesset member after coming in 12th place and then retired from the Likud after he came in 36th place in the next elections, leading him to decide to establish a new movement:

"There is a message that burns in my bones and a mission that the State Israel must fulfill. When it got stuck and entangled in the Likud, we created a new mechanism. Politics is not the end but a means to the destination to which we are moving."

Regarding criticism voiced by many on the right that Zehut is leading to further fragmentation among the ranks of the right, Feiglin aggressively responds: "Those who destroyed Amona and Gush Katif and Yamit back then were the same ones calling upon us not to split. It wasn't the Supreme Court as many on the right unfortunately try to convince us. It was not the left and not Obama and Trump; it was us, the Right, or rather the right-wing politicians. There are thousands of houses across the country that have demolition orders against them. Why have they not begun to destroy them? Why do they go after the Jews first? Why in those cases does the honorable Supreme Court not intervene?

"I do not feel that I'm causing division, I feel like I'm introducing a great force into politics; serious and meaningful with direction and the ability to cope with the pressures of the left. Because we come with a very clear program and a platform of more than three hundred pages. Anyone who followed my activities in the Knesset knows that I always knew where the red lines are. I would not stay a minute in a government that destroyed villages, and here the Right is on the inside, even trying to describe to us how it was able to pass this law that is clear to everyone won't pass the High Court. Only Zehut provides direction and the real ideological power that stands behind it, for the Israeli Right."

How do you characterize Zehut?

"Connecting to Jewish identity on the one hand, with all the freedoms the Jewish people stand for on the other, a connection that produces a very wide range of potential activists and voters. Our headquarters in Tel Aviv has people coming and going from all sectors of the population."

Is it true that even some Meretz people support you?

"It is true enough for Yediot to write an article about it Saturday. The head of our Eilat branch (we have over 20 branches across the country) previously ran the Meretz branch in Eilat for many years. He belongs to an old and ideological Meretz family. But when this connection between identity and the freedom to create was made, they found their place with us in Zehut. We are of course not a leftist party. We are the party with the greatest determination to keep the Land of Israel that there is, but yes, we are open to the entire population."

Feiglin emphasizes that the value of liberalism emblazoned on his party's flag is a Jewish value that jis our tradition since Mount Sinai.

The Zehut party leader explains why he feels his party is the only true Democratic Party today in Israel: "First, I submitted my candidacy together with registered members of the party, we are going to hold primaries, and we are going to vote on the primaries method where there will also be a stage two before the election in which all the citizens of Israel will be able to rank the candidates on the list. We are talking about a truly democratic party that turns to all citizens, not just this or that sector."

Feiglin again attacked Netanyahu, with whom he was in conflict time and again during his membership in the Likud. Feiglin accuses Netanyahu of sideswiping the US President from the left: "Unfortunately things are evolving just as I warned. It's not difficult to understand, and US officials have talked about it, Netanyahu is the one who prevented Trump from moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and it is Netanyahu who repeatedly steers Trump to the idea of ​​two states."

Feiglin also compares acting Prime Minister Netanyahu with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: "In a situation where the Likud Prime Minister is under investigation, it seems the Israeli Right would do well to shake off their euphoria and recall another prime minister, the most right-wing we ever had, before the disengagement. This combination of a Likud Prime Minister and an American President who flows with whatever direction Netanyahu suggests, add to that the investigations against Netanyahu, all these vectors should turn on all the red lights for whoever learned a little of his own history."

Feiglin's political philosophy has been formulated since his Likud days and he recounts it: "Zehut's political program is detailed in a very orderly fashion in our platform: Applying Israeli sovereignty in all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands from the sea to the Jordan River. Arab residents are offered three options: 1) A generous and orderly migration package using some of the funds we invested in the mad Oslo process. 2) Those wishing to stay and have no record of terrorism and recognize Israel's sovereignty openly and officially, may remain as permanent residents, not citizens but with all civil rights but without the right to vote in national elections. 3) Individuals wishing to serve in the IDF, pledge allegiance, and tie their fate to the Zionist vision like the Druze, also will be cleared for a process that can also involve citizenship."