Meet the Knesset’s newest settler members

Israel/Palestine
on 18 Comments
moshe feiglin
Moshe Feiglin, Likud’s newest settler minister of Knesset. (Photo: Flash90/Times of Israel)

Two years ago an Israeli court sentenced a settler for abducting, stripping naked, beating and then dumping in a ditch a Palestinian teenager. At the time of Zvi Struk’s conviction the judge described the 28-year-old’s actions as particularly brutal because it was the second time the same Palestinian youth was tormented by the Esh Kodesh outpost resident. After Struk’s trial his mother, Orit Struk, helped organize a prison send-off in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, attended by leaders of the Israeli Knesset.

Up until two weeks ago, that was Orit Struk’s claim to fame: defending her son and as a fringe leader in the Land of Israel movement, a rights group for zealous settlers.

But now she is one of two settlers who won first-time seats in Israel’s January elections.

“The lies of the Arabs” are rewarded by the court, Orit told the Jerusalem Post in 2011. She continued,

“The judge preferred the testimony of the prosecution witness, who is a currently standing trial for throwing Molotov cocktails, over that of Zviki Struck, a farmer with no criminal record, who all the character witnesses said was a gentle, responsible and law-abiding citizen.”

orit struk
Orit Struk. (Photo: Ynet News)

“Orit Struk, who comes from one of the most ideological communities in the West Bank, will have to pass through a checkpoint or two on her commute to her new job in the Knesset,” wrote Ben Sales earlier this week for the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA). In “Meet some of Israel’s diverse new Knesset members” he profiled Struk along with four others. From the JTA:

She lives in Hebron, where she runs the Jewish community’s legal and diplomatic division and has made her home for 30 years.

A mother of 11 and grandmother of 12, Struk also is the founder and chairwoman of Human Rights in Yesha, an organization that advocates for settlers’ rights. In that capacity, Struk has fought against alleged abuse of settlers by soldiers and policemen, and advocated for the rights of those who protested Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Struk, 52, also runs the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset that fought for settlement expansion and legalizing settlement outposts.

Days before the election, in the wake of the release of a video of Jeremy Gimpel, another Jewish Home candidate, speaking enthusiastically about the Dome of the Rock exploding, Struk said, ‘We pray that the Temple will rise again in Jerusalem.’

Struk at times was described as a liability in Bennett’s campaign to present Jewish Home as an inclusive right-wing party, not a settlers’ party. But in an interview shortly before the election with Israel’s Channel 2, Bennett denied she was a liability.

‘I’m not hiding Orit Struk,’ he said. ‘In every party, people vote with their conscience and it’s OK that among 15 people, we’ll have a representative of the right.’

Because of Struk’s address and the platform of her political party, her take on al-Aqsa Mosque is to be expected. Her party’s leader Naftali Bennett is poison hemlock to the ruling coalition, which is poised to form a government with Yesh Atid, the secularist led by Yair Lapid who is lauded for resurrecting the voice of the moderates in Israel.

Yet settler-turned-Minister of Knesset, Likud’s Moshe Feiglin, is another first time public servant elected in January who also believes in rebuilding a temple on the Muslim holy site. Feiglin’s already caused a stir, praying at the Al-Aqsa mosque on the 19th day of every month. His fervency has incited clashes and he has been arrested for it.

Feiglin is a pragmatist and head of the Jewish Leadership bloc in Likud that develops policy on annexing the West Bank. His cohort, for a third time late last year, attended a conference on strategic planning to legally absorb the West Bank into Israel. Feiglin proposed paying Palestinian families $500,000 for self-deportation. “We can give every family in Judea and Samaria $500,000 to encourage [them] to emigrate … This is the perfect solution for us,” said the Likud minister. Other Likud members spoke, including Zeev Elkin, Yuli Edelstein, Yariv Levin and Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar. The workshops focused on incremental annexation and reduced Palestinian sovereignty to “marginal appendages” of the West Bank, meaning Area A.

The Times of Israel reported:

MK Yariv Levin advocated a slow but steady de facto annexation of the West Bank, mainly by expanding existing settlements and taking whatever steps were possible to apply laws on Jewish communities beyond the Green Line.

‘In this way, we will try, slowly but surely, to expand the circle of settlements, and to afterwards extend the roads that lead to them, and so forth. At the end of this process, the facts on the ground will be that whatever remains [of the West Bank] will be merely marginal appendages,’ he said.

At the conference, the Likud group favored bloating the number of settlers and regularly re-introducing the notion of annexation until it becomes mainstream. Struk and Feiglin’s victories at the polls are examples of this strategy; but governing a country that Israel has occupied was not questioned. And though the wider public may still need convincing on annexation, settlers are now solid mainstream leaders of the Jewish state.

“This is just the beginning,” said Feiglin to Israel’s Channel 10 during the run-up to the election last November, reported the Times of Israel. “We will build the temple on the Temple Mount and fulfill our purpose in this land.”

 

18 Responses

  1. jon s
    February 2, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Correction: Mr.Feiglin and Mrs. Struck have been elected to the Knesset, they are not ministers.

  2. Walid
    February 2, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Charming pair.

  3. subconscious
    February 2, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Here’s a 2010 speech/Q&A in LA by Feiglin, who was The Jewish Leadership party candidate:
    link to youtube.com
    He wants the role of Israel as a special Jewish state to be emphasized internationally, so that it is not expected to behave like any other member of the family of nations, and wants his audience to recognize that the fate of world Jewry rests upon the success of Israeli policies. Around min 22:40 he states, “The problem is not Iran. The problem is Ahmadinejad and he should be killed,” and goes on to explain how the assassination of Ahmadinejad would save millions of lives. We also learn from him that at the time of the Iran-Iraq war Ahmadinejad was already a high-ranking figure in the Islamic Republic and was personally responsible for sending thousands of kids, armed w/ Chinese-made keys to heaven, as human waves to clear mine fields.

    Feiglin propagates the ignorant or propagandist view, common in right-wing circles, of raising the bogeyman of Ahmadinejad as the ultimate dictator of the IRI, whereas anyone w/ a minimal knowledge of the Iranian system knows that decisions such as direction of nuclear technology and engagement in war are prerogatives of the Supreme Leader. Ahmadinejad doesn’t have the authority to make such decisions and will be leaving office in a few months. Furthermore, while there’s a debate about the use of children by Khomeini’s regime in the Iran-Iraq war, no one else has suggested that Ahmadinejad, who was in his late 20s and did not have any high position in the system at the time, had any role in that matter. Feiglin is rolling all the living & dead leadership of the IRI during the past 30 years into the bugbear of Ahmadinejad, who should be eliminated for the sake of saving mankind.

    • subconscious
      February 2, 2013, 4:14 pm

      A quick wiki search turns up the following quotes from Feiglin, which further illuminate his mindset:
      link to en.wikipedia.org
      “Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?… For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them… You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber and a killer and a liar. The Arab destroys everything he touches.”
      “Hitler was an unparalleled military genius. Nazism promoted Germany from a low to a fantastic physical and ideological status. The ragged, trashy youth body turned into a neat and orderly part of society and Germany received an exemplary regime, a proper justice system and public order. Hitler savored good music. He would paint. This was no bunch of thugs. They merely used thugs and homosexuals.”
      Based on his Ahmadinejad, Muhammad and Hitler comments, he, presumably, would not be raising the usual specter of Ahmadinejad-as-modern-day-Hitler.

    • RoHa
      February 2, 2013, 8:48 pm

      “He wants the role of Israel as a special Jewish state to be emphasized internationally, so that it is not expected to behave like any other member of the family of nations”

      Perhaps we should invite him to debate the Israel-apologists here who try claim that Israel and its actions are just like those of any other member of the family of nations.

    • Hostage
      February 2, 2013, 11:09 pm

      “The problem is not Iran. The problem is Ahmadinejad and he should be killed,” and goes on to explain how the assassination of Ahmadinejad would save millions of lives.

      The guy’s philosophy is indistinguishable from Kahane. He needs to be barred from entering the US like any other terrorist who advocates “Murder or manslaughter of foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons” and his funding here cutoff. See
      *18 USC § 1116 link to law.cornell.edu
      *18 USC § 2339A Providing material support to terrorists
      link to law.cornell.edu

  4. DICKERSON3870
    February 2, 2013, 4:45 pm

    RE: “Yet settler-turned-MinisterMember of Knesset, Likud’s Moshe Feiglin, is another first time public servant elected in January who also believes in rebuilding a temple on the Muslim holy site.” ~ Allison Deger

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Moshe Feiglin]:

    [EXCERPT] Moshe Zalman Feiglin (Hebrew משה פייגלין, born 1962) is an Israeli politician, head of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction of the Likud party in Israel. Widely quoted in Israeli media, Feiglin is considered a political hardliner with a unique political perspective that emphasizes policies that reflect Israel’s Jewish identity.
    In 1993, Moshe Feiglin co-founded the Zo Artzeinu (“This [is] our Land/Country”) movement with Shmuel Sackett to protest the Oslo Accords. On August 8, 1995, 80 intersections throughout the country were blocked in a massive act of civil disobedience against the Oslo process. As a result of his activities, Feiglin was sentenced to six months in prison in 1997 for sedition against the state by Israel’s Supreme Court. The sentence was later commuted to community service.[1] . . .
    . . . Several left-wing commentators have depicted Feiglin as fascist,[8][9][10] but for his part, Feiglin rejects this label, claiming that he is fighting fascism [so-called Liberal Fascism no doubt ~ J.L.D.] himself.[11][12][13][14]
    . . . In an article in Ha’aretz, Yossi Sarid quoted Feiglin, in the context of demonstrations against the democratically chosen Oslo accords, as saying, “Hitler was an unparalleled military genius. Nazism promoted Germany from a low to a fantastic physical and ideological status. The ragged, trashy youth body turned into a neat and orderly part of society and Germany received an exemplary regime, a proper justice system and public order. Hitler savored good music. He would paint. This was no bunch of thugs. They merely used thugs and homosexuals.” Feiglin clarified his position to the Maariv newspaper that just because he considers Hitler a military genius this does not mean he admires him.[1] In an interview on Israeli television Feiglin accused Sarid and other left-wing journalists of a smear campaign against him by quoting him out of context. He explained his point as saying that just because Germany was a democracy does not give legitimacy to what Hitler had done.[30]
    Feiglin is banned from entering the United Kingdom due to a decision by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, made public in March 2008, excluding Feiglin on the grounds that his presence in the country “would not be conducive to the public good.”[31] A letter to Feiglin from the Home Office said that Smith based her decision on an assessment that his activities “foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts and foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”[32][33] Feiglin responded, “Seeing that renowned terrorists like Hizbullah member Ibrahim Mousawi are welcomed in your country in open arms, I understand that your policy is aimed at encouraging and supporting terror.[34] . . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 2, 2013, 4:48 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Feiglin New Rightist Power Behind Likud Throne”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 12/27/08

      [EXCERPTS]Gershom Gorenberg has written a stunner of a political appraisal of the role Moshe Feiglin and his far-right allies will play in Likud before and especially after the next national election. Feiglin is an Orthodox extremist settler leader who toiled in the political trenches of far-right splinter parties until he cottoned on to an idea David Duke had some time ago. Instead of laboring in political obscurity, take over the major party nearest to your ideology. In this case it was Likud.
      In the last leadership primary [back in 2008], Feiglin (remember again that his views are somewhat akin to Duke’s in an Israeli context) garnered 25% of the vote to embarrass Netanyahu deeply. In the most recent primary, Feiglin and his allies chipped away further at the party leader: not only did Feiglin place 20th on the list which would’ve made him a certain MK winner (party leaders later used technicalities to move him to 36th), but many of his ideological soulmates placed high in the list as well. Gorenberg argues that no matter how centrist Netanyahu tries to paint the party, the newly empowered extremists will weigh him down like an albatross. The Israeli journalist speculates that even IF (a big “if”) Netanyahu would want to engage in territorial compromise with the Palestinians after becoming prime minister, the rump right wing caucus could muster the support to nix such an initiative or anything that even smacks of craven capitulation to the enemy.

      Here are some of the more shocking beliefs that Feiglin holds:

      On the Jewish Leadership website, [he] proposes principles for a constitution for Israel. It would include a high rabbinic court, chosen only by clergy, that would overturn any legislation it saw as contradicting Jewish religious law. A newly established senate, with a guaranteed Jewish majority of over 80 percent, would have to consult the rabbinic court on all national issues. Israel would lay claim not only to the West Bank and Gaza, but also to all of Jordan.
      . . . He proposes . . . holding a ceremony at every army base in which all non-lethal weaponry would be destroyed. Faced with Palestinian demonstrators, soldiers could only shoot to kill. . . Another Feiglin tract contrasts parliamentary democracy with an “authentic Jewish regime” that would express the “organic unity of the Nation of Israel.” Put simply, Feiglin’s ideology is the meeting point of fundamentalism and fascism.

      Gorenberg concludes his essay with this warning about the false ‘branding’ of Likud under Netanyahu’s leadership:

      The campaign packaging for the Likud will show Netanyahu’s face. In his modulated MBA voice, he’ll try to sell the Likud to voters as a pragmatic conservative party, willing to make peace if only the Palestinians agree to its conditions. Inside the package, however, is a party in thrall to a lean and hungry man offering extremist leadership for Israel. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

      P.P.S. AND SEE THESE TWO:

      “Bogie Yaalon’s Excellent Adventure with Feiglin, Kahane Kids”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 8/17/09
      LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com

      “Yaalon Looks to Fascist Right for Support in Likud Leadership Struggle”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 8/20/09
      LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 2, 2013, 5:18 pm

      P.P.P.S. RE: “Several left-wing commentators have depicted Feiglin as fascist” ~ from the Wikipedia excerpt above

      ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Betar]:

      (EXCERPT) The Betar Movement (בית”ר, also spelled Beitar) is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky. Betar has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group Irgun Zevai Leumi. It was one of many right-wing movements and youth groups arising at that time out of a worldwide emergence of fascism.[1] Some of the most prominent politicians of Israel were Betarim in their youth, most notably Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, the latter of whom idolized Jabotinsky.[2]. . .
      . . . The group initially praised Mussolini for his anti-communism and fascist principles, leading it to adopt the black uniform shirt of Italian fascism for a short period. Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, however, was seen as “cowardly” by Betar and led them to break with him shortly after.[8]. . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      ● ALSO SEE: “The Hidden History of Zionism”, Chapter 6, by Ralph Schoenman

      [EXCERPT] . . . Mussolini set up squadrons of the Revisionist Zionist youth movement, Betar, in black shirts in emulation of his own Fascist bands.
      When Menachem Begin became chief of Betar, he preferred the brown shirts of the Hitler gangs, a uniform Begin and Betar members wore to all meetings and rallies – at which they greeted each other and opened and closed meetings with the fascist salute. . .

      SOURCE – link to marxists.de

      ● P.P.P.P.S. RE: “Mussolini set up squadrons of the Revisionist Zionist youth movement, Betar, in black shirts in emulation of his own Fascist bands.” ~ from the Wikipedia excerpt above
      SEE THIS VIDEO – Mussolini in Color : The Blackshirts [VIDEO, 02:24] – link to youtube.com

      AND RE: “When Menachem Begin became chief of Betar, he preferred the brown shirts of the Hitler gangs [the S.A.]” ~ Schoenman (from above)
      SEE THIS VIDEO: Rise of the Nazis, DiscoveryTV [VIDEO, 04:15] – link to youtube.com
      AND SEE THIS VIDEO: The Night of the Long Knives [VIDEO, 04:45] – link to youtube.com

  5. Annie Robbins
    February 2, 2013, 7:20 pm

    remnick had a section of his bennett newyorker article on Feiglin link to mondoweiss.net

    a total freak. and that struk woman. gad. thank you for the report allison.

  6. a blah chick
    February 2, 2013, 7:35 pm

    “Orit Struk…will have to pass through a checkpoint or two on her commute to her new job in the Knesset…”

    Something tells me Orit won’t have any trouble sailing through customs.

  7. kayq
    February 2, 2013, 10:20 pm

    And when you thought settlers couldn’t get anymore radical…

  8. sardelapasti
    February 3, 2013, 12:56 am

    Just a fleeting thought: can’t the election of representatives from illegal “settlements” to the Kenesseth be taken as official annexation?

  9. Accentitude
    February 3, 2013, 4:57 am

    Woah…that first photo – When did Eric Clapton join the Likud?

  10. Kathleen
    February 3, 2013, 9:54 am

    Orit should have been put on trial for aiding and abetting the horrific crimes of her son. My friend Art Gish was in Hebron winter after winter. For decades on his return, emails, in his books he described so many inhumane actions and such cruelty that just oozed out of the radical settlers . Cruel, hateful and unpunished

  11. IL1948
    February 3, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Israel prosecutes and punishes people like Zvi Struck who commit crimes against Palestinians.

    Palestinians name streets after people who commit crimes against Israelis.

    • a blah chick
      February 3, 2013, 3:36 pm

      A perfect example of this would be the cautionary tale of Shumuel Malinki, one of the perpetrators of the Kafr Kassen massacre. He ended up serving a two year sentence before getting a pardon and later command of Dimona one of the most sensitive places in Israel. All after killing nearly fifty men, women and children.
      All of them Israeli citizens.

      Yep, that’s some kind of punishment there.

  12. Citizen
    February 3, 2013, 4:36 pm

    So these people are ok to the US senate we just saw on TV digging at Hagel, indeed, more than ok; they are to be rubber-stamped as part of Israel’s government, and Hagel is to be dismissed as an anti-semitic and un-American crackpot?

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