December 9, 2008

Meet Moshe Feiglin

Moshe FeiglinMoshe Feiglin, Founder and President of Manhigut Yehudit, is determined to provide Israel with the authentic Jewish leadership that it so desperately needs. As Prime Minister of Israel, he will lead the nation to its Jewish destiny with authentic Jewish values and concepts.

Roots in the Land of IsraelThe Feiglin family’s roots were planted in the Land of Israel during the “First Aliyah.” In 1889, Moshe Feiglin’s ancestors immigrated to Israel in order to fulfill the Torah commandment to live in the Land. The Feiglins were among the pioneers who established the first settlements in Israel’s north – Mishmar Hayarden, Hadera, Kinneret and more. Moshe Feiglin’s grandfather, Avraham, was the first child born in Metulah.

Natural Connection Although the Feiglins who had originally arrived in Israel as pioneers were Torah observant, not all of their descendants remained so. By the beginning of the twentieth century, part of the Feiglin family had become non-observant. Moshe Feiglin was born into an extended family comprised of all the different types of Jews that make up Israeli society; observant, secular, ultra-Orthodox, Left, Right and just about everything in between.

YouthMoshe Feiglin was born in 1962. He grew up in Rehovot, where he met his wife-to-be Tzippy. Tzippy and her family had made aliyah to Israel from the United States. Moshe studied in the Or Etzion high school yeshiva. Although the religious Hesder army option was popular at the time, he opted to enlist in the army for the full term of service. Moshe progressed quickly in the army and became an officer in the engineering corps. He completed his service after four years, and he and his bride, Tzippy, moved to Karnei Shomron.

WorkUpon completing his army service, Moshe opened the first window washing company for high-rise buildings. The company grew and developed, eventually employing tens of people. At the beginning of the 90s, Moshe and a partner established a hi-tech company that developed a unique security product. The company never took off, though, as it was precisely at that time that Yitzchak Rabin was elected as prime minister of Israel and signed the Oslo Accords.

Wake Up Call - Moshe Feiglin immediately understood the ominous significance of the Oslo Accords and attempted to warn of the impending danger. The leftist government reacted with derision to the protests and warnings of the National Camp. The Right’s ineffectual reaction to the moral and security collapse that Oslo engendered brought Moshe to the conclusion that he could no longer continue life as a private person. He left his business and with his friend Shmuel Sackett, established the Zo Artzeinu protest movement. With no major organization behind them, with no budget and coming from total anonymity, Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett managed to carry out the largest and most significant protest that the State of Israel had ever seen. On the 12th of Av, 5755 (August, ’95), approximately one hundred thousand demonstrators from all sectors of Israel’s society took to the streets and blocked more than one hundred main intersections in Israel. The protest paralyzed the country and proved that the nation – unlike its leaders – was faithful to its land and was not interested in the embrace of the terror organizations.

Zo Artzeinu was a huge success and brought Moshe Feiglin into the headlines as a person with unusual leadership capabilities. Even his opponents admitted that Feiglin represented a phenomenon never before witnessed on the Israeli scene.

1996: Major Factor in Political Turn About Despite the success of Zo Artzeinu, Moshe Feiglin did not seek any political gain. He was immediately arrested, refused the services of defense attorneys and together with Shmuel Sackett and Rabbi Benny Elon, was put on trial for sedition. Proceedings against Rabbi Elon were terminated when he was elected to the Knesset. Feiglin could have easily chosen the same path. He could have taken advantage of the tremendous public credit that he had accrued, gotten himself elected to the Knesset in one of the right wing parties and elegantly saved his own skin. But Feiglin is a true leader. “There is no way that I will lead people in a struggle and then find my own personal escape hatch to avoid the consequences,” he said and paid the price in full.

Instead of running for the Knesset in a small party, Zo Artzeinu used its deep grass roots support to help the Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu win the elections against Shimon Peres. Zo Artzeinu volunteers manned the intersections throughout Israel, handing out Netanyahu leaflets in an all out effort to bring the Right into power. The hard work of the Jewish majority public tipped the scales and Netanyahu narrowly won the elections. Ironically though, Feiglin’s sedition trial continued throughout the years of the Likud’s rule. Instead of sitting in the Knesset, Moshe sat in the courtrooms. He was ultimately sentenced to six months of community service.

Writer During those years, Moshe Feiglin wrote his first book, “Where there are no Men.” The book was published in Hebrew, English and Russian. Moshe’s articles began to appear in the media. The Jewish majority public began to integrate his opinions and outlook into its own world view and Moshe became a sought-after speaker throughout the world.

Moshe Feiglin’s second book, “The War of Dreams,” is 530 pages of selections of the hundreds of articles that he has written. The articles span an eight year period – from 1997 to the Disengagement in 2005. Feiglin’s impressive prescience is apparent in the book. In his articles, he concluded that the Hizbollah would shoot missiles at Haifa three years before it actually happened and predicted that the US army would become hopelessly embroiled in Iraq, explaining precisely why – immediately after 9/11. When everybody eulogized the Likud as a party of the past, Moshe explained why it would quickly recover, convincing both his supporters and opponents that his analyses are to be taken seriously.

Jewish LeadershipWhen Netanyahu warmly shook Arafat’s hand and announced that he had found a friend, he effectively eliminated the opposition to Oslo. It was at that point that the National Camp – as the Left before it -- accepted the justice of the Arab claims. When the Right was dragged by Netanyahu into Oslo, it was no longer capable of establishing an alternative. The public got used to the fact that when it voted Left, it got Left and when it voted Right, it got double Left. Naturally, deep despair followed.

Although a number of right wing parties attempted to convince Moshe Feiglin to join their ranks, he refused. He knew that only the party that represents the main sector of Israeli society – the Likud – can possibly rectify the situation. After the Likud leadership attached itself to Arafat, Feiglin understood that just helping the Likud to get elected accomplishes nothing. The Likud, currently captive to Leftist ideology, must have a leader who will express its latent Jewish identity. He joined the Likud and immediately announced that he intended to lead it.

In 1999 Netanyahu lost to the Labor’s Ehud Barak. The Likud seemed to be a dead-end party. But it was precisely then that Feiglin began his campaign to convince the public to join the Likud in an effort to establish authentic Jewish leadership for Israel. Thousands – about half of whom were settlers in Yesha -- complied and signed up.

In 2003, Moshe Feiglin participated in the Likud primaries for the first time. He ran against Netanyahu and Sharon and got just 3% of the vote. Of course, his candidacy then was just symbolic. But he had proven that he was seriously in the race.

In 2006 the Likud held primaries once again. There were six candidates beside Feiglin: Netanyahu, Silvan Shalom, Israel Katz, Uzi Landau, Shaul Mofaz and Limor Linat.
This time, Feiglin’s candidacy was not symbolic at all. As soon as the first polls showed Feiglin bypassing Livnat, she pulled out of the race. When Feiglin passed then Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz in the polls, he didn’t suffice with reneging on his candidacy; he left the Likud and joined the Kadima party. When Feiglin passed Uzi Landau in the polls, Landau left the race and supported Bibi. Feiglin eventually won third place in the primaries with 13% of the Likud votes. It was the surprise of the primaries. Despite the fact that all the other candidates had been ministers and Knesset members, Moshe reached third place without ever having been in the Knesset. Many Likud members desperately seek authentic Jewish leadership. In the polling booth, they voted Feiglin.

Future ”Moshe Feiglin intends to provide Israel with authentic Jewish leadership. From the leadership position of the Likud, his goal is to create a National umbrella party with the Likud at the helm.

“When I will lead the Likud,” he explains, “I will establish the ‘Jewish Israel’ umbrella party. Who will vote for the National Union when Feiglin is at the head of the Likud? Who will vote for the NRP? How many voters will stay with Lieberman? How many people will come home from Shas? When we establish the National bloc with the Likud at the head, there will be no choice but to join us. It will be the greatest victory in the history of the Knesset!
Family ManMoshe Feiglin is a family man. He and his wife Tzippy have five children. His oldest daughter is married, lives in the settlement of Einav and has turned her father into the youngest grandfather in Israeli politics.

Moshe’s day begins before dawn when he rises for prayers, Torah study and mountain biking in the Shomron mountains. Between his frequent speaking engagements and meetings, he still finds time to write, answer the many letters that he receives and of course – to spend time with his wife and children.

1 comment:

  1. Feiglin is a great man... I wish he'd abandon the Likud, because Bibi will keep him down as long as he is able. He has the support of 1/3 of the Likud. He should pull those supporters to Ichud Leumi.