Analysis

Israeli Election's Dangerous Surprise: Pro-pot Jewish Evangelist Who Wants a Holy War

Beneath Moshe Feiglin's Steve Jobs disguise hides a dangerous fanatic – a Jewish version of the jihadists who seek revenge against the infidels

Zehut's Moshe Feiglin tours the Mahane Yehuda market ahead of the Israeli election, Jerusalem, April 4, 2019.
Emil Salman

<< UPDATE: Feiglin fails to enter parliament, per exit polls. Live updates here

The longtime right-wing activist who dreams of building the Third Temple re-invented himself as the white knight of soft drug legalization. He has ridden all the way to the ballot box on the international cannabis trend, and mixed this joint with a pseudo-libertarian economic manifesto and posters that made this religious settler look more like Steve Jobs.

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Many of his supporters are young, first-time voters. Others have come to Zehut from the political fringes, and some describe themselves as center-left. It isn’t clear how many of them bothered to read the party’s detailed platform, but the morning of Election Day is the last chance to warn them: Feiglin’s diplomatic platform is as far as could be from the “champion of freedoms” disguise he’s adopted.

>> Joints on the Temple Mount | Editorial ■ Feiglin is selling a bottle of free market snake oil | Analysis

Reading the books promoted by Zehut and the party’s campaign material leaves no room for doubt. Moshe Feiglin is the Jewish version of the Evangelicals who are dreaming of Armageddon and the jihadists who seek to take revenge against the infidels. The man seriously fantasizes, in all seriousness and with great passion, about a comprehensive holy war to conquer the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in particular the Temple Mount – not in the name of nationalism, but in the name of God.

This is what the diplomatic chapter of the platform says: There is no such thing as Palestinians; they are an artificial response to Zionism, an enterprise whose days are over because it seeks to replace Judaism, which is our real identity, as opposed to Israeliness, which isn’t. Peace can’t begin without a war in which we “defeat” our enemies.

After the theory part, it details the principles. The first is that “the Land of Israel is the land of the Jewish people alone, because of our devotion to it throughout the generations, as a people and as individuals, based on the decision by the creator of the world, the God of Israel who gave it to us by his will.” Freedom for all? Not so much. Zehut does say that “human rights are given to a person by his creator and therefore they cannot be denied by man,” but at the same time argues that “citizenship is granted by a person/country using human judgment and therefore can be denied by the same.”

There are also practical details: First the Oslo Accords will be canceled, the territories will all be conquered by the Israel Defense Forces, and a population transfer will be proposed that Feiglin refers to as “a proposal for an honorable withdrawal.” Whoever refuses to leave “by agreement” and “will fight against Israel, with weapons, incitement to violence or by other forbidden activity” – what other activity? – “will be considered an enemy.” In this situation, while “Israel will do everything possible to limit the unnecessary bloodshed among the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza” – what can you do? – “we are talking about a state of war and preserving the security of our citizens and soldiers comes first.”

The next step is that “in all the liberated land, Israeli sovereignty will be applied. Palestinians who forfeit ‘transfer’ with monetary reimbursement can obtain a temporary resident document and a sort of municipal autonomy. They cannot vote for the Knesset [in general elections].” The few who choose to “tie their fate to the Nation of Israel” will receive citizenship through “a long-term path” in which “they will be examined over an extended period of time for their suitability and loyalty.” And after all that, whoever still decides to fight against Israel - and here the idea of an “honorable withdrawal” disappears - will simply be expelled by force or killed.

Those thinking of voting Zehut must know that the price of legal joints and false promises to be freed from taxes will be very high. In a holy war, there are no exemptions for stoners.