I want to thank my identical twin brother for posting Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin’s plan for solving the Gaza problem on his Face Book page, along with the comment, “very interesting and promising article.” I also want to thank Moshe Feiglin himself for so clearly enunciating the true goal of the state of Israel, whether that goal is inspired by Zionist ideology or by the Torah.
Feiglin, who I believe has aspirations to become Israel’s prime minister, is a member of the Likud party and is representative of a significant portion of the Israeli populace. Yesterday, July 16, 2014, he was rewarded for his patriotism by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who appointed him to the prestigious Foreign Affairs and Security committee.
Feiglin is anti-Zionist, but let’s not necessarily confuse anti-Zionism with regard for human rights. Feiglin says: “The momentum toward citizenship for all residents of Israel, regardless of their religion, is part of the Zionist ideology based on Western culture. If not checked, it will effectively transform Israel from a Jewish state to a state with some Jewish citizens.”
Feiglin’s proposal for Gaza is to give Gazans “one warning” that Israel is about to attack. If Gazans want to avoid death they must leave “immediately.” They can go to the Sinai Desert in Egypt: “This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts.”
Beyond that limit, Feiglin’s plan washes its hands of any responsibility for feeding and sheltering the ethnically cleansed. If they happen to die, Feiglin and his government, as it so often has done, will likely blame the Arab world for disregarding the well-being of their own brethren, thereby providing Israel with another in a long list of propaganda coups.
In conquering the entire Gaza Strip, Israel’s infantry will use “all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations [my emphasis].”
Shin Bet and the IDF will “thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza.” Gaza “will become part of sovereign Israel and be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.”
By offering Gazans a choice between death and an even bigger housing crisis than they already have, Feiglin probably felt he was being generous. After all, mercy for those he calls the enemy is not an essential value in his religious beliefs. Nonetheless, although it might be unfair to expect him to see Gazans as human, he must be aware that eighty percent of the state of Israel is uninhabited. But I have to credit Feiglin with a keen sense of pragmatism. He has clearly stumbled upon a highly effective means to alleviate Israel’s housing crisis. Ethnic cleansing and genocide are the pillars of his plan.
Feiglin makes no distinction between able-bodied adults and children, the elderly, or the disabled. All must leave or suffer the consequences of an Israeli invasion which will use “maximum force,” with “all the conventional means at its disposal,” in which there will be “no consideration for human shields.”
Feiglin also seems blasé about how Egypt might react to more than a million homeless and impoverished people massing on its border. His narcissism is characteristic, even symbolic, of Israel’s and its Jewish supporters’ weltanschauung (worldview). This attitude can be expressed as follows: We Jews are eternal victims of an anti-Semitic world. Now that we have the power we lacked in the past, we will make the world pay for our historical suffering. Since we cannot trust non-Jews, we will steal from, torture, murder, imprison and ethnically cleanse them in order to ensure that Never Again will non-Jews steal from, torture, murder, imprison and ethnically cleanse us.
Feiglin believes he has the Divine on his side, which insulates him from guilt and compassion, heart-felt feelings that have no place in his heartless religion that invokes a God-given right to deprive another people of the right to live like human beings. I think that Feiglin, indoctrinated into a religious dogma and an internal logic into which he has never inquired, confuses G-d with his ego. In another article, he quotes from the Torah, Book of Numbers 33:55:
And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land and you shall dwell in it. And if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you and it will come to pass that those that you leave will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and they will harass you in the Land in which you dwell.
Feiglin demonstrates how one’s attachment to a limited identity and to the beliefs and images that emanate from and reinforce that identity create irrational fear and delusion, inevitably leading to a world of Us against Them. By denying the humanity of the so-called other Feiglin has lost his own humanity. The words of Mark 8:36 have never been so relevant: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Moshe Feiglin is merely an exaggerated depiction of the human dilemma that all of us are confronted with in every moment of our existence. Israel-Palestine may be a political, humanitarian, religious and cultural problem but at its deepest root it is a spiritual problem; it is a problem of identity. And only by understanding how the attachment to a presumed and limited identity operates as a veil that distorts how we see and interpret the world will the immense suffering in the world be mitigated.
Richard Forer is author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion –A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.