Moshe Feiglin is a former Likud member who is forming his own party called Zehut (Hebrew for “identity”). Feiglin was recently in Maryland, visiting family and conducting meetings, and sat down with Kol HaBirah to discuss U.S.-Israel relations, his hawkish stance on Iran, the Israeli economy, and more.
The Netanyahu administration was not a fan of President Obama’s Iran deal. In your opinion, is Trump better than Obama for Israel? Would Clinton have been better?
I don’t think it really matters because it’s not about America, it’s about Israel. Why was Obama in a position to sign that horrible deal? Because Netanyahu gave up on his basic responsibility to Israel’s security. Instead of dealing with the problem, he gave the responsibility to the Americans.
What should Netanyahu have done?
Exactly what Israel did in Iraq 20 years before.
Strike the facilities?
Doesn’t that give Iran a free pass to strike Israel and start WWIII?
When Menachem Begin struck the facilities in Iraq, did that start WWIII? When Ehud Olmert struck the Syrian reactor, did he start WWIII? Netanyahu not striking the reactors in Iran will create WWIII.
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in places like France and other parts of Europe. Does Israel have a responsibility to protect the Diaspora or encourage aliyah?
Look, the Israeli police can’t go to Paris to protect Jews. My problem is that Israel hasn’t developed its economy in the right way, because today a young French Jew who feels the anti-Semitism and wants to move to Israel cannot find a job — and if he does, it will pay poorly. So, he will find himself in America or Canada, making a very good salary, but his kids will most likely not be living as Jews, because today to keep your Jewish identity you have to come to Israel. There is no other way, even if you’re religious. There is no other way for you or your children to keep your Jewish identity if you don’t come to Israel now.
By not creating an economy that will invite not only Jews from poor countries but also Western countries, we failed to create an environment inviting Jews to come, because they want to live well.
Why is the cost of living so expensive in Israel?
The reason is very simple. There is no free market in Israel. You can’t import food, or open a business without heavy involvement of the government. The government is very big, it should be cut by at least 50 percent. The Zehut platform talks about cutting down from 30 ministries to 11. We should be importing for free and cutting taxes. For example, Heinz Ketchup is not considered ketchup. Why? Because regulation in Israel tries to help the local industries, so of course the prices are higher. It’s like this everywhere, including housing. Ninety-three percent of the land in Israel belongs to the government, not to private people, so there is no free market; there is no competition. The regulations are fit to the needs of the big factories and businesses.
Could they theoretically break up the big businesses and lower prices?
I do want to break businesses. I don’t think the government should break nor support businesses. I think the government should not be involved in the economy. The freer the economy, the prices will be lower, and the standards will be higher. In small areas where it is happening in Israel, like high tech, look what happened. The economic potential in Israel is enormous. All you need to do is get your hand out of it.
What is the best way to combat BDS?
I believe that when you have a problem with mosquitos, you don’t deal with the mosquitos: you deal with the swamp, and the swamp is the lack of identity in Israel. Israel is not a weak country anymore; it exports twice as much to America as it imports. If Israel boycotted back the countries that boycott Israel, you wouldn’t have chips in your phones, for example. The strength of the boycotts represents the spiritual weakness of Israel.
Interview by Scotty Dolgov