QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- Are you running in the elections all the way to the end, in any case?
"No question about it. All those who talk about the minimum threshold - they should take into account that I'm deaf."
- Ok, but what about the minimum threshold?
"This capitulation to the 'minimum threshold' is a trick by Bennett. He can easily move to the center, over to the seculars. He's not threatened by anything or anyone. He knows that whatever he does, you're in his pocket.
"Our ideological existence is crucial. I have to run. Even in spite of the fact that I have no interest in it. I prefer my routine. If I don't run, morality is lost. 'Be smart, don't be right' - A loss of morality in the name of pragmatism, the victory of mandates, the unification of the reckless, etc. If you prefer the winners, the masses, the 'leaders', it wouldn't be the first time in history. The enthusiastic masses get swept up by the 'successful' one - and bring disaster upon themselves again and again.
"So that's how the people get swept up by the spies, and die in the desert, swept up by the Hellenists and lose their identity.
"It's not 'pragmatic' to be on my side. I admit it. It doesn't carry any reward or any success or a feeling of immediate satisfaction, but it's critical. I don't have the right NOT to run. And you choose your path. Only those who don't bend the knee to the god of mandates will stay with me. Just a few of the few, like the ones who went with Avraham Haivri, with Matityahu, with Yair Stern, with the pioneers of Jewish settlement. They were always just a few, not stand-outs, the 'duds', the persecuted. But you owe your existence to them."
- Is there any chance?
"One thing's for sure: There is no chance to save the Jewish State if the one leading it is Bennett or Netanyahu. Our chances depend on each and every one of us who decides that he's not willing to lend a hand to freeing terrorists, to establishing a terror state in the name of 'autonomy' or another name, who isn't willing to put the education of Israeli children in the hands of anyone who sees that bilingual school (Arabs and Jews) as 'the future of the Jewish people'.
"Rabbi Kahane ran for the Knesset in three elections; his failure hurt at times. In 1981 I was the head of the Tel Aviv branch of the Kach movement (I was 17.5 years old); we worked day and night, rallies, putting up posters, flyers. And the terrible result of those elections was a total of 5700 votes from around the country. I had a big breakdown from that. In 1984, I was a soldier in Lebanon. I heard that Rabbi Kahane was considering running again. I made superhuman efforts to get a short leave from the IDF to meet with him. When I got to him, I begged him not to run. I didn't want him to get hurt. But it turned out that after that, some former activists from Beit Shemesh came to him. They closed themselves in a room with him and demanded: Rabbi Kahane, you're running - not for yourself, but for our children. Luckily he didn't hear me. Because in those elections he got 26,900 votes, almost getting a second mandate. Each one can draw his own conclusions from this factual story."
- Is there really any chance? Why don't we see you in any surveys?
"Many people ask these two questions. Why don't we see you in the surveys? And is there really a chance? My reply is in two parts.
"First of all, when the house is burning and our children are inside, we storm the house to save them without asking whether there's any chance we can do so. Nor do we look at surveys that don't really address us.
"But the truth is, that the answer is otherwise and it's unequivocal. We are taking the chances. Each one of us. Instead of talking about the chances of taking them. The hurdle is high, we need to get to 120,000 voters. But the political process is full of surprises right now, you don't know where the votes for Liberman, for Jewish Home will spill over; the closer we get to the elections, the closer they'll get to the Likud. Or of the conflict that exists within the Charedi community, or of the wider public who are sick and tired of functionaries jumping from place to place, the ones who adopt an ideology before the elections and then forget about it the day after."
- Where do things stand re talks with Yishai?
"We're making overtures. We estimate that this can take a lot of time, since each one is gaining strength. I think it's just a waste of time, by the way. In the meantime, I can't wait for him, so my campaign's still running." Ben-Ari claims that "when they (Yishai's people) see there's no drift in their direction, they'll come back to us. No question at all - if we unite, it's clear to me that they will be surprised by the momentum. Maybe his linking up with me will drive some of his potential voters away, just as it will my potential voters - but the votes that will come to a united party will be many more than the votes of those who will perhaps leave. The gain is much, much greater than the loss, this is as clear as the sun". Ben-Ari took the opportunity to send a message to Yishai via this interview: "I will most certainly not wait for a long time. Let them take into account that there are others who are negotiating with me. The moment there's something serious in that direction - I'll sign an agreement". (newspaper interview)
- Why "Otzma Yehudit" (Jewish Strength)?
"After lots of deliberation, we chose the name "Otzma Yehudit", with the understanding that the struggle is focused mainly on this point. Leftist organizations and the Arab enemy are all working very hard to erase any traces of Jewishness from the State, allegedly in the name of "democracy". The banners being waved today are weakness, retreat and sopping it up like a sponge. Banners that, G-d forbid, promise to erase the Jewish State. We are seeking to bring back the legitimacy of "otzma" - strength. Without strength and faith the State of Israel would not have arisen, without strength and faith we would not have been victorious in the War of Independence and the Six-Day War. Without both of these, we've got loss, defeat and retreat.
"Approximately 70,000 voted for us in the last election, and every day I meet many, many of the voters. The vast majority are sorry we did not get in the Knesset - but they're not sorry they voted for us. More than a few have told us: I prefer to throw my vote in the trash, than to throw it to the trash. They demand that we keep on working and we understand that we have no choice, that the battle for the Jewish State is in full swing, and that failure in the previous elections will not lead us to wave the white flag.
"In the current political reality, it is becoming clearer day by day that there is no essential difference between Jewish Home, the Likud and the rest of the parties. The State of Israel is being conquered from within, negotiations are being held with arch-murderers and we pay for this by freeing terrorist murderers and thereby officially turning them into 'freedom fighters' - and all of this with the sponsorship and cooperation of the "right-wing" parties.
"Since the last elections, the realization is growing that there is no suitable representation in the Knesset for those who are faithful to Am Israel. The 'right' of Bennett, Lapid's friend, is not the 'right'!
"Today more than ever, Israel's Knesset needs Otzma Yehudit - Jewish Strength!"
- What about Eli Yishai?
"Undoubtedly, the reality of the rise of the minimum threshold of votes is a political game-changer and makes it harder to get into the Knesset. In this situation, we've expressed unequivocal willingness to go for a technical bloc with Eli Yishai. However, it turns out that he has some advisors who suggest that he shouldn't run alone, and the day after the candidate lists were submitted to the Knesset, to sweep up votes from 'Otzma Yehudit'. We still hope they'll understand there that going in together is a kind of mutual interest. They're not weak, our electorate, they're not in anybody's pocket, and they are both ideological and with two feet on the ground. We continue to act with strength, everywhere."
- What are you running for?
"For all our good friends and those who are loyal to our path. We intend to lead the way together to another path, we aren't promised victory. But we have no intention of caving in to anyone who weakens us in any way. We probably won't win, but the real loss would be to throw up our hands. A loss for the Jewish people. The confused Right, momentarily riding the victory horse, is leading us to destruction. The plot to make us disappear from the arena will speed up this process. We are the only ones offering another way for the Jewish State to exist. In all areas: Foreign relations, strong and proud against the world. An uncompromising and unhesitant domestic policy on our right to the country. Reforming the legal system to make it one with Jewish national values, not destructive 'universalist' ones. We're not self-righteous, we're not trying to sell ourselves with makeup or a costume. There's also such a leadership role... but it doesn't suit the masses. The majority likes to be connected to winners, apparently. To the rich and famous. We don't belong to that breed. That's not my job, not our job. Remember, the confused Right is responsible for all the disasters that have happened in recent years: Begin - the destruction of settlement and withdrawal, and the most serious thing of all was the recognition of the 'Palestinian' people's right to self-definition. A recognition that means that we are thieves in our own land. Yitzchak Shamir - the first Prime Minister who conducted negotiations with the PLO at the Madrid conference and paved the way to Oslo. Ariel Sharon - destruction, withdrawal, making a terror state on our necks. Netanyahu - 'The two-state vision'. Bennett - A weak clone of Netanyahu. 'A program of reassurance', which is surrender to the reality that a monster in the form of another terrorist state is being built in front of our eyes. Our job is to show THE WAY, not Right and not Left. The proud, Jewish way of a people who have returned to our land that was stolen from us and who have no intention of haggling over it. We do have what to say on economic issues, too. But when we're about to get slaughtered, we don't get involved with mortgages, after-school programs or the price of Milky."
- What is your message to IDF soldiers and security personnel?
"You have the task to stand against our enemies with determination and strength, and not hesitate. We'll make sure you have a free hand to trounce anyone who tries to hurt you. Soldiers who carry out military activity against terrorists will be entitled to full backing and support. All prosecution of soldiers acting against those who seek our lives, will be stopped immediately. Shalom Eisner, for example, will be brought back to the IDF in a senior command role. That way we'll send a message, both to soldiers and the world: Don't dare even think about attacking IDF soldiers!"
- What do you have to say about the legal system?
"All of us understand that the legal system in the State of Israel is a giant that has become larger than life. Only a determined leader who's not afraid of the bullies in the system can clean up the stables of the prosecutors' offices and courts of the ultra-Left gang that has taken over it.
"When I was in the Knesset, I came up with a proposed to reign in the judicial dictatorship, that was unfortunately rejected.
"Everybody understands that the existence of such a legal system as it is now - constitutes an existential danger to the State. The legal system currently operates under the "friend brings a friend" motif, and control by the judges of the legislature. This is a dictatorship in legal robes. The time has come to put an end to this. We'll be the startup that gets this moving!"
- In your eyes, what is most important now?
"In my perspective, Zionism as expressed in two words: Aliya and Settlement. As of right now, an emergency aliya program must be formulated. Half a million French Jews are sitting on a barrel of gunpowder, in other European countries the Jews' situation is no better... I'm calling for a government aliya cabinet to be formed, which will be composed of four government ministers - aliya and absorption, housing, education and employment. The cabinet will find the solutions for all the issues that bother people moving from country to country - and all this by formulating creative and even unconventional solutions.
"Aliya of half a million Jews can fill up a whole city, which will be built in the Galilee and will rescue the Galilee from the control of Raed Salah and cause our enemies to think seriously about moving to France, the European country that welcomes Islam.
"This is the nitty-gritty of Zionism, this is the essence or our responsibility towards our children - to safeguard the Jewish State, which will remain one."
- What do you have to say about the educational system?
"Our society is getting sick from 'privatization-itis' - we've gone from being a people who have: Mutual responsibility towards one another, unity and feelings of obligation for each other - to a collection of individuals stepping on each other for the next achievement. Everyone is occupied with his own good and personal enjoyment, without taking into account the general good.
"Destructive elements have taken control of our educational system. They are working to turn our children into kids that are alienated from their people and their homeland. A situation has been created that any hint of a national value is considered either 'racism' or 'nationalism' - to the point where there are schools that incite against IDF service and don't allow IDF officers to enter their premises!
The educational system needs to recalculate its route. We need to intensify the younger generation's understanding of its Jewish and national roots. To regenerate with the young people, the national and pioneer missions of settlement of the Negev, Judea and Samaria and the Galilee, and involve them in the absorption of immigrants. This is the way to give meaning to our youth to faithfully continue contributing to society and to the Jewish State!"
- Do you have an economic-social platform?
"Daily life for the citizen of the State of Israel must be comfortable and respectable, which of course includes a roof over each citizen's head. We'll fight with all our might against the companies of contractor workers, synonymous with 'modern servitude'. We'll fight for the citizen not having to pay Gaza's and Um El Fahm's electric bills out of his own pocket, we'll fight to free up land for construction, especially in Judea and Samaria - where there are land reserves for the Jewish People in their land. We'll struggle for affirmative action in the workplace being given to those who are loyal to their people and the State, not to the Arab enemy, like what's done today. We'll break up economic centralization and cut down the unspeakable wage gap between the ordinary worker and the CEO (who makes in one paycheck what an ordinary worker cannot make in three years). But we have to remember that a healthy economy is a matter of education, as well as values that we are steadily losing."
- Is there any chance that you'll join any government?
"Of course! We aspire to come to power and have real influence, but in no way will we be the wheels of destruction and devastation of the Jewish State. The illusion of 'influencing from within' is padded with budgets and jobs, but in fact, Bennett and Ariel participated in a government that froze construction even in Jerusalem.
"On the other hand, a government that commits to no negotiations on our only country, that commits to building tens of thousands of homes for young couples in Judea and Samaria, that outlaws any organization working against the State and the IDF - that will be the government that gets our full support! Without any stipulations for getting funds or jobs."
- Whether you get into the Knesset alone or with 4 mandates, what are you going to do, shout?
"We have to admit that the party running Israeli politics for three years already is Meretz.
"The concept of 'two states for two peoples' was not part of Rabin's platform, not even Netanyahu's! But little Meretz's persistence has now led Liberman there, and in a shorter time that one can imagine, Bennett, too, will get there. At a time when the Left is offering a clear agenda of retreat and escape, the Right in the Knesset is hesitating to deal with emigration of the enemy and the loss of its way, and finds itself adopting the positions of Meretz. Our 'shout' signals to the Israeli public that there is someone who has not lost his way. Our 'shout' confronts the parties on the Right with the fact that they are being dragged into actually implementing the platform of the Left!
The Left speaks of freeing terrorists at the same time that Ariel and Orit Struck sit in the 'Right-wing coalition' which itself is freeing terrorists! The Left speaks of freezing construction in Judea and Samaria and Bennett sits in a government that freezes it even in Jerusalem! When we 'shout' there, one of two things will happen - either Bennett and Bibi will remember what they're supposed to represent, or alternatively - the public will finally understand that it is again voting for the Right who serve as the contractors for the Left."
- What is the solution to the problem of infiltrators?
The solution to the infiltrators is in their countries, not here. If there are economic or other problems there - the world should take care of the problem there! Not move the problem to developed countries. It's clear already to everyone that this isn't about refugees, even according to international law. They passed through another sovereign country on their way to Israel, so why didn't they stop there?
"We were among the first ones to be flooded with this disaster. Today, central Tel Aviv is already occupied territory. In this disaster, we cannot be 'nice'! If they came here to better their economic situation - we have to handle the problem by issuing heavy fines to their employers and by taking away their work visas. This, along with practical proposals to return them to their lands or to other countries. This indecision about how to handle them and the fear shown by Leftist organizations and the High Court are the cry and disaster that we're dropping onto the heads of the next generation.
"The infiltrators are already organizing themselves into a collective body that demands rights, tomorrow they'll demand representation in the Knesset and autonomy, and the Jewish State will G-d forbid turn into a multinational state, with internal conflict."
- So what's your solution to the problem of Israeli Arabs?
In reality, somebody who wants to wait at a bus stop has to hide behind a concrete block, and in order to get to a football field in the Galilee (Sakhnin), an escape route is paved. The understanding that there is a problem is the main part of the solution.
"Arab nationalism rears its head every time we have a confrontation with external enemies - which proves with whom they truly identify. Out of respect for the Arabs' nationalist feelings, the State of Israel has to set a national goal of emigration for whoever cannot identify with the fact of the State of Israel as a Jewish State.
"For this task many funds will be pumped in, which we'll have saved from the security system. Not too long ago, a survey was published that 70% of Judea and Samaria Arabs are interested in emigrating. The world is in an age of mass migrations, and we have to point the demography of our one little State in the right direction for us.
This is both moral and very practical, if we really want it! For an example, Qatar is crying out for tens of thousands of workers - we can encourage that with professional training, scholarships, generous incentives and so on.
"Whoever says this isn't practical, is responsible for our country being taken over from day to day!"
- What's the difference between Bennett and Otzma Yehudit?
"Naftali Bennett is a clone of Netanyahu, but as opposed to Netanyahu who came into politics with some ideological baggage - Bennett came with one mission only, called 'Naftali Bennett' (Bennett has never written any ideological articles).
"Not too long ago, Netanyahu was great in his speeches against a 'Palestinian state', but today he has the vision of 'two states'. Bennett is already talking today about 'autonomy' (a small step before a terror state on Israel's neck), and then he'll bypass Netanyahu from the left.
"Bennett sees 99.9% of Israeli Arabs as loyal to the State, and is working to get them employed at the expense of the Jews.
"Because we respect Israeli Arabs, we understand that they have no loyalty to the State, not to the blue and white flag and not to our national anthem. We understand that ignoring Arab nationalism, which keeps on gaining strength in the fact of our weakness in this area - is existential irresponsibility. In a few more years, the 'loyal' Arab collective will demand national rights. And then Ruby Rivlin (Bennett's President-elect) - will stand by the Arabs' side in the name of 'democracy'. So - in order that our kids can still have a Jewish state with a Jewish national anthem, we must expose and stop the lie of coexistence that Bennett and Rivlin are preaching. If we're not there, nobody will do it!"
- Why lose votes on the Right, again?
"In the 2013 elections, we got about 67,000 votes, over two mandates' worth - the ones who burned the votes were those who raised the threshold along with those who waged an aggressive campaign: "They won't make the threshold". Bennett, Bibi and Liberman again raised the threshold so that they could go on building a terror state here, without anyone in the Knesset raising any objection to it. This is like the neighborhood bully who closes all the stores and forces all of us to buy inferior goods in his store.
"A situation has been created that even if you think that the enemy should not be given 'autonomy' - you will have to vote for something you don't believe in. We're not giving in to that bullying! One who is really bothered by this threshold thing, is invited to work towards our success - or alternatively, to demand that Jewish Home show some responsibility and quit the race (they are the ones who raised the threshold).
"From a historical viewpoint, even Calev ben Yephuneh and Yehoshua ben Nun, like the Irgun and the Lechi - didn't pass the threshold, but if they had caved in to the bullies that brutally turned themselves into the majority, we would still be in the desert."