Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moshe Feiglin v. Netanyahu: Last Exit to Jerusalem

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/19/12

Why must I, a cold country New Englander and a solitary mountain dweller with a broken foot, be the only American to write about the upcoming election in Israel for leadership in the Likud, as critical to Israel’s destiny and to American interests in Israel as the fateful primary in South Carolina? The Israeli paper Arutz Sheva reports that Moshe Feiglin, who is challenging Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of Likud in the party's primaries two weeks from now, cited a favorable poll Tuesday morning as evidence that his chances of seriously embarrassing Netanyahu are high, and that a victory by Netanyahu is not a complete certainty: “In a poll conducted by polling company Ma’agar Mochot, about 26 percent of Likud members not affiliated with Feiglin's faction agreed that ‘it is important to vote for Moshe Feiglin in the upcoming primaries, even though it is clear that Binyamin Netanyahu will win, just so that the right wing inside Likud will gain strength.’”

As Feiglin has written not long ago, this year for the first time there are more Jews living inside Israel than outside inside: "The exile is over."

European Jews have been returning to the source in Jerusalem since 1492. It has been a journey homeward, like a parallel event; a shadow journey of European Jewry joining in with the gentile world on the way here to New York City. But the last 500 yards of the journey, up the steps to Temple Mount, where Jews are arrested today and sometimes beaten by police for praying, is proving to be one of the most treacherous links of the journey.

The changes we face today in the United States are generational; Bush, Clinton generations moving out of the scene and carrying with them their generation gods, demons and furniture. Israel faces a similar generational change which portends Netanyahu and the American-dominated Israelis, leaving the scene now or in the near future. That is why this race is critical.

These upcoming races move toward an auspicious future where Israel and the United States, alone or together in a different way than they are now, both enter light and air. Europe faces a different trajectory and different destiny; a journey which recedes from Yalta inauspiciously as capital flees to Asia. Bret Stephens, columnist of the Wall Street Journal, calls Europe’s state a “slow suicide.” But Israel and Europe have different destinies.

Ten years hence Americans will have new friends in Israel and Israel will have new American friends. There is no telling with Europe; moral descent of the world geist since Yalta can be seen not only in the collapsing economy but descending as well from the clarity and density of Hannah Arendt writing to the one-world voices today of Lady Gaga, Bono and Bob Geldorf of the Boomtown Rats. Where can they possibly go from here?

As Stephens suggests in a recent column, the sinking of the cruise ship suggests Europe’s trajectory. Should be noted that the first harbinger of a plague in Europe in the 14th century came when a trade ship entered the port at Constantinople and everyone on board was found to be dead of the plague.

But that is not our fate and it will not be Israel’s. The generations will shift and rise in the upcoming election in Israel and in the races here in the coming year.

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