Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and the head of Zehut, an Israeli political party formed in 2015. Zehut advocates the return of Israel to the Jewish people and leading the State of Israel through authentic Jewish values. Feiglin was interviewed by Vox Day on January 24, 2017.
VD: What would a long-term peace in the Middle East look like? Is there any possibility for genuine peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, or is this a situation more akin to the Cold War, which only time can resolve in its own fashion.
MF: You may be surprised, but I’m very optimistic. The reason for the conflict is that Israeli society did not make clear to itself what is our identity. I know for a fact, from talking to Arab members of the Knesset about the situation here in the Middle East that the reason why the Arabs do not accept the Israeli state is that they don’t see the new Israelis, the Zionists, those who are trying to create a new identity instead of the Jewish identity, they don’t see them as real Jews who belong to the region. Therefore they don’t accept them. I was talking to an Arab Knesset member once, and he told me, “with you, I will manage, because you belong here.” It’s not a territorial conflict, it’s a cultural conflict. I think that the wars we have around us, and against us, are a reflection of the identity war we have inside Israeli society. Once that inner war is settled, we’ll be able to make peace with our neighbors. It’s just like somebody who is fighting with himself all the time, he will also fight with his neighbors. It’s true for individuals and it’s true for nations. There was never a Palestinian nation, there was never a Palestinian state. That’s all one big lie. If, God forbid, Israel would disappear one day, immediately, the word “Palestinian” would disappear as well. When the Gaza Strip, or Judea-Samaria, or parts of the land of Israel were held by the Egyptian army, or by the Jordanian army, you never heard any voices calling for those pieces of land to be given back to the so-called Palestinians. They will always fight for a Palestinian state on the square inch where the Jew is standing. In order to solve the conflict, we need to start saying the truth. The truth is that the land of Israel is a Jewish land, it belongs to the Jews more than any piece of land on Earth belongs to any other nation, and they have more historical right to it than any other nation. We have to be ourselves. When we hide from our identity, we open the door to these demands and these wars.
VD: What should Israel’s position on Syria be? Was overturning the Assad government a legitimate and reasonable objective for the Obama administration? Should the West be involving itself in regime change in the Middle East?
MF: Israel is the strongest state in the region. When a humanitarian crisis, like what’s taken place in Syria, is happening right on our border, I don’t think Israel, as a Jewish state representing moral values, can stand aside and see vast massacres taking place. I don’t want our soldiers going in and getting involved with that war, of course. However, I think that a long time ago, Israel should have set up a safe zone, protected by the air force and artillery, where citizens running away from murderers, whether it is Assad, ISIS, DAESH, or whoever, can be safe. There should have been that kind of humanitarian involvement from Israel. Because Israel did not do that, we saw other forces come into the vaccuum, and they only escalated the violence.
VD: Jews are often, understandably, concerned about the Holocaust. But do you think there is a diminishing effect of appealing to the Holocaust, considering that it is beyond the living memory of most people today? How can anyone expect the Holocaust to make any difference to, say, the Chinese, who killed 50 million of their own people? Why would they care more about an order of magnitude fewer Jews being killed 70 years ago than they do about themselves?
MF: It’s a very important question. I agree with you 100 percent. When I’m talking about the Holocaust, I don’t think that it is something Israel needs to wave before the entire world, not at all. I don’t like that every VIP who comes to Israel is taken to Yad Vashem. Not at all! I’m not looking to embarrass anyone about the Holocaust and I don’t base Israel’s right to exist on the Holocaust. When I bring it up, I am saying that we, Israel, have to remember our own experience. When the head of a serious state, 60 million civilians, a member of the UN, with a serious army, talks about destroying Israel, we should believe him. I’m not turning to the Americans, or the Russians, or anyone else, to help me. I’m reminding myself that I should learn from my own experience. The right of Israel to exist is not Yad Vashem. The right of Israel to exist is not the recent past. The right to exist, and to flourish, is the message that the Jewish nation still needs to enlighten the entire world, and to help it flourish from Zion. This is our point. It is a positive point, not a negative one.
Read the whole thing at the Unz Review.
UPDATE: I found this statement of the Trump administration’s intentions to be more than a little intriguing in light of Mr. Feiglin’s answer concerning Syria.
A separate order also would lay the groundwork for an escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria by directing the Pentagon and the State Department to craft a plan to create safe zones for civilians fleeing the conflict there, those familiar with the plans said. Mr. Trump has said such safe zones could serve as an alternative to admitting refugees to the U.S. News of the actions, which are expected Thursday, was met with distress across the Middle East. They point to a dramatic reshaping of America’s relations in the region by a president just days in office, when the U.S. is engaged on multiple fronts in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group.
Safe zones are an excellent idea, as they permit humanitarian actions to be performed while avoiding most direct military engagement as well as preventing aliens from invading the nation.