Moshe Feiglin: The Problem is Israel, not Trump
Interviewer: Yair Kleinbaum, Halalit TV, Israel
The following are translated excerpts from an interview, broadcast live on Halalit TV, with Moshe Feiglin.
Welcome to Moshe Feiglin.
Thank you, it’s good to be here, with a great view of the American embassy sitting steadfastly here on the Tel Aviv coast.
You know, when you were interviewed here a few months ago, we ended the broadcast with a question that you asked: “Do you really think the US embassy is going to move to Jerusalem?” I thought you were crazy. But now, Donald Trump is the president- as you had predicted two years ago – and he is not moving the embassy.
Yes, I explained that it would not happen – not because he doesn’t want it to – but because Netanyahu doesn’t want it.
And you also said that in a certain way, Trump is bad for Israel.
Not because Trump himself is bad. But Netanyahu has maneuvered him to the positions of Obama. When you have a rightist promoting the Left’s plan, because it is all he has left, that is much more dangerous. We all remember Ariel Sharon, the rightist who destroyed Gush Katif. Because only the ‘rightist’ Likud can destroy settlements and perhaps only Trump can do the same. Now those two factors have united. The embassy will not move to Jerusalem. Trump already understands that Israel cannot think outside the leftist Oslo box. And Trump has already been maneuvered back to the old Oslo diplomatic process idea. By not allowing Trump to move the embassy, Netanyahu let the Oslo genie back out of the bottle and he will not be able to control it.
You have written a political platform that is the most detailed and all-encompassing of any platform ever written in Israel. Why aren’t you talking now about the economy, society? Why are you returning us to the diplomatic plan? We are interested in other things. Surely your advisors have told you to talk about other things – liberalism and the like. Why return us to Oslo?
The platform, 312 pages, is about how we can be truly free Jews in our Land. The Diplomatic Plan is at the end of the book. Our focus should be internal affairs and Jewish identity. But we anticipate that the agenda here in Israel in the coming months is going to be diplomatic. This is the 50th year of the liberation of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. And Trump is also coming to Israel. But in the marketplace of ideas, the People of Israel are familiar with only one solution. The Oslo solution.
But Bennet also has a plan…
Bennet’s plan is identical to Beilin’s plan from 20 years ago. The only difference between Bennet and Netanyahu is in semantics – how they refer to Israeli retreat. Will we call it Area C or Blocs?
Zehut is the first political party in Israel that, since the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, proposes a solution for Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria based on one state – not two. It is the only solution, the only applicable solution, the only just, practical, ethical, democratic solution that will bring the most security and peace to Israel - until the Mashiach comes.
Your diplomatic plan also includes the economic, strategic, security, and demography aspects. It has a plan for a naturalization process, compensation for those who leave and more. So why doesn’t the Israeli political consensus want to accept it?
It is important to understand the basis of all of this. Dr.Ron Pundak, the architect of Oslo, clearly admits that peace is not the goal of Oslo. It is not so hard to understand this. When you set out on a mad Oslo experiment, and you get exploding buses and restaurants blowing up in smithereens, countless dead and injured…
Actually, it is very symbolic that Moshe Feiglin, the first to go out and protest against the nightmare Oslo Accords, will be the person to rid us of it. You were the first one to take to the streets.
Those who surrender to the Oslo mentality, to the Two-State-Solution, those who start to talk about Areas A, B, C – those who are totally mired in the Oslo swamp, cannot pull others out of it. As our Sages say, “A prisoner cannot release himself from prison.”
Those who fought against Oslo, who voiced their liberated opinion against the Oslo concept are the same people who can present a coherent concept today. I really do see this plan as a form of closure. From saying, “This is our Land,” which was the name of the anti-Oslo protest movement, to saying, “This is our Land” – not in the streets, but diplomatically, democratically, in a liberal and authentic manner. We are saying to the Israeli public, “You already understand that no real diplomatic process will be originated by the Left, you already understand that all that you get from the Left’s ideas are more and more rounds of fighting, rockets, cement roadblocks and more. So now is the time to listen to someone who understood where Oslo would lead us from the very start, who is proposing a practical idea that is firmly grounded in the demographic, economic and local and international legal facts. Our plan answers the most significant questions – there is an entire chapter of questions and answers. People ask: To where will the Arabs emigrate? Is any state really willing to accept them? And the answer is that there absolutely are states willing to accept them. People do not know the simple facts.
What do you say about Donald Trump?
When he began his campaign I said that he would win – both during the Republican primaries and in the general elections. And I said that he would be bad for Israel. Not because he hates Israel – on the contrary – I believe that he loves Israel. I said he would be bad for Israel because I realized that Trump would meet an Israeli government that would force him to be bad for Israel – just as we are seeing now with the embassy issue. The person who prevented the embassy’s move to Jerusalem is not Trump, but Netanyahu. Trump wanted to move the embassy. In other words, the reaction created by a strong and energetic person like Trump, who meets an Israeli government that does not propose any way out of the dead end other than the Oslo process brought to us by the Left –will propel an energetic bulldozer like Trump to find a way out. He will adopt the Left’s plan, but he will do so much more effectively than the Left. He will be more Left than the Left. That is what happened with Sharon and Gush Katif. Now we will have a combination of the Likud, which is the only party that can uproot Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, here in Israel – with Trump in the US. Here, there is no Opposition to uprooting towns because it is the Likud implementing it, in the US the Democrats will certainly not oppose a ‘peace process’ led by the Republicans, the two will meet here and that is a very dangerous situation. For that reason, Trump’s presidency is going to turn out badly for us. And that is why it is critical for us to get our Diplomatic Plan out to the public now. So that the Israeli public will be armed with knowledge. There are answers. There is a good alternative to the Two-State-Solution. One State for One Nation.
If things turn out badly for Israel, it will not be Trump’s fault. It will be our fault.
Moshe, I would like to as what you have to say about the new Israeli Broadcasting Corporation. Surely your liberal fans will be happy to hear a few words about this.
The Corporation is really a joke. There is no difference between the Broadcasting Corporation and the original Broadcasting Authority. Both of them are the State broadcasting to its citizens. A state should not be broadcasting to its citizens. It should have nothing to do with broadcasted content or how it is relayed. Broadcast should be completely free. Any person who wants to broadcast, be it on radio or television – should be able to receive a license, not a franchise. In other words, he should receive a frequency on which he should not be bothering other broadcasts, should not be broadcasting lawfully censored material and the like, and he should broadcast whatever he likes. We need an open marketplace of ideas. In Israel, the Army broadcasts to the citizens.
In order to understand this, we have to think in-depth. What is a state? A state is a tool for using power. It is like a pistol. We need to get the pistol out of the arena. Let everyone freely broadcast without the intervention of the State.
What about the economy?
The State of Israel is like an inverted pyramid. The young couples work the longest hours of any Western country, earn the least amount of money and pay the most taxes. All of this in one of the most successful states in the West. To where does all the money go? To those who established the State. They came here first. They organized for themselves budget-based pensions, good jobs…You know, there are approximately one million state workers today. This centralized economic structure created an inverted pyramid. Its base, which includes all the people who could have found a job actually needed by the economy – and here we must mention the swamps of corruption that this creates, in the army, the education system and more - is on top. Who is supporting this top-heavy structure? Small business and young couples.
Let’s take the education system, it is an excellent example. Today, the education budget is the largest in Israel – much larger even than the security budget. The education budget today is approximately 86 billion shekels annually. Maybe we should pat ourselves on the back and say what a great job we are doing of educating our children. But there is only one problem. If you divide the education budget per child per month, do you know how much that comes to? Approximately 3,000 shekels per child per month. So I say, just a minute. Don’t give me 3,000 shekels per child. Give me 2,000 shekels per child. In a classroom of 20 children, which is a relatively small class, that would amount to 40,000 shekels per month. With 40,000 shekels, I can pay the teacher 30,000 shekels per month – a great salary. That would still leave me with 10,000 shekels a month to rent a building, buy equipment and more. So where is all the money? It is not reaching the teachers, their salaries are very low. It is not reaching the students, whose international test scores are poor. So where is all the money? The thing is that the students are not customers of the education system and neither are the teachers. Do you know who is the customer of the system? The system. The money gets lost inside apparatuses, corruption, committees, supervisors. Over time, the system has gotten more and more developed – and it is impossible to fire a teacher here in Israel, and you end up with a system that is interested only in perpetuating itself. This is an excellent example. Every taxpayer pays 3000 shekels per student per month, and how much does he get from this? A pittance. With low-salaried teachers who cannot be fired. Instead, give this amount in vouchers to the parents. Let them redeem those vouchers for 2000 shekels per month where they please. Let the best teachers compete for the highest salaries in the workforce. With the same budget, you will be able to give Israel’s children an amazing education. The existing system will remain, but it will have to compete for students. New, boutique schools and the entire system will flourish. Competition is a positive thing.
Let’s say that two mothers meet each other one afternoon.
One says to the other, “My son doesn’t want to come home from school. Do you know that he quotes from Shakespeare? What a broad perspective he has. Jewish sources, general sources, math. And he goes to school so happily.”
The second mother says, ”What? Where does he go to school?”
“In the new school that just opened. I redeemed my coupons there and I am extremely satisfied.”
So the second mother won’t send her child to the new school? Of course she will. In other words, as a parent, I can redeem my voucher wherever I want.
By the way, there is one area in Israel in which the voucher system has already been implemented: in the maternity wards. When my oldest daughter was born, we had no choice. My wife had to give birth in our local hospital in Rehovot. I still have awful memories of that maternity ward. By the time the other children were born it was totally different. Somebody in the Social Security apparatus decided to give the expectant mothers vouchers for their hospital stay and to allow them to redeem those vouchers wherever they pleased. What happened? The maternity wards have turned into 6 or 7 star hotels. And it doesn’t cost us any more money. They simply took the existing budget and awarded it as vouchers to the mothers, opened the field to competition and restored responsibility and choice to the mothers.
Get the state out of our lives, restore responsibility for our children, for our families to the citizens. The state has to deal with security – both internal and external. Everything that I am saying is from Jewish sources. Maimonides says that a king is responsible for security and justice. That is the role of government. To protect you. Everything else, it will ruin. Government has two roles: to protect you and to keep away from your life. Everything that the state touches, will not function properly.
The time has come to be free Jews. The state has to be out of every aspect of our lives: education, economy, real estate – the Israel Land Authority should just be closed down and the keys should be thrown into the ocean. Why is the cost of housing so high? Because 93% of the land reserves are in the hands of the State.
A person who doesn’t believe in Gd cannot be truly free. He will always be enslaved to another person, which has caused the greatest catastrophes in history. A person who truly and deeply seeks liberty will always reach Jewish sources, because those are the sources of the concenpt of liberty
What will happen is Israel is not because of Trump. It is because of us. T