Fighting For Gaza In Five Towns

Tim Boxer - Jewish Week - April 1, 2005

Moshe Feiglin wants Ariel Sharon's job. Feiglin, formerly a participant of the religious right political party Zo Artzeinu (This Is Our Land), which led street demonstrations against the Oslo agreements, has morphed into a legitimate member of Likud to challenge the prime minister.

Feiglin, the head of Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), a religious right faction within Likud, says he has a shot. He is seen often on Israeli TV debating his leftist and secular opponents with intense determination. With a neatly trimmed beard, the tall and slender Feiglin has the requisite image of a leader.

At the third annual Manhigut Yehudit dinner Sunday at the Hewlett East Rockaway Jewish Center, Feiglin lashed out at Sharon for refusing to call a national referendum on disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

"Why is he afraid?" Feiglin asked. "Because he would lose."

The problem, he said, is that Israelis have security but are bereft of identity.

"We come with a different agenda," he told the 330 dinner guests, including Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Chaim Kaminetsky, Ira Heller, Dr. Joseph Frager and Rabbi David Algaze.

The guests were seated before a banner that proclaimed, "Turning the State of the Jews into the Jewish State."

"We come to connect you with who you are, with an identity that was taken away from you," Feiglin said.

And that is why the Feiglinists, as the Israeli leftists call them, are fighting to stop the pullout from Gaza, which they view as integral to the land of Israel.

Esther Pollard, the wife of Jonathan Pollard, was a special guest on the program presenting an update on her husband, who is in the 20th year of a life sentence as a spy for Israel.

She insisted that the Pollard case has been used "to slander Jews, to show that Jews cannot be trusted in sensitive positions and to pander to Arabs."

"Peace negotiator Dennis Ross says in his book that Pollard does not deserve such a harsh sentence but should not be freed because he is too valuable," she said. "The U.S. uses Pollard to gain painful concessions from Israel. It is politics, not justice, that drives the Pollard case."

  • See Also: Text: Esther Pollard's Speech at Manhigut Yehudit's Annual Dinner