Later, in 1997, he was found guilty of sedition against the sate and publishing seditious material and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and served six in community service.
The sedition trial drew him into the public eye where he has remained ever since. Today he is the head of Manhigut Yehudit which is funded—entirely he emphasizes—by donations. But Feiglin admits that he has changed. “I am no longer in a constant battle. I am not contending against any one person, not demonstrating. But I have not broken. I am now involved in education. I am building a new ideological playing field.”What does that mean?
“I’m not pessimistic. I see the deep processes of the search for Jewish meaning and am trying to give them political expression. To create a Jewish State.”In a state like that, does a secular person have to keep Mitzvot? Will courts adjudicate according to Halacha?
“No. Judaism is first and foremost freedom. The meaning of a Jewish state is that every Jew in the world will be able to vote. Not the state of Israelis, but the state of Jews. When a flotilla comes from Turkey and Obama throws our Prime Minister down the stairs, the nation feels like the plank it is standing on just got a little thinner under our feet. I want the Israeli citizen to feel like he has the option of moving to a different playing field.”Personal Introspection
For the Shabbat of Succot, David was released to his house for 24 hours with his family. The next day he went back to the hospital. In the days that passed since Yom Kippur eve, he has begun to whisper other words, and he is capable of saying “Abba,” “yes,” and “no”. His motor skills are also showing signs of improvement and he can move his left hand. “The movement on his left side is coming back first,” his father quotes the doctors and says that this is only the beginning. “The path is very long until he comes back to himself. He has started talking. It reminds me very much of a baby beginning to speak. Speech is the level in which we become human beings, the level that separates us from the animal kingdom.”
The trauma, he says, has not changed his life principles, “but certain things took on a much stronger emphasis. Today I am less critical of people. My principles have not changed, but how I relate to people is much more delicate,” he explains.
“When something like this happens to a man, he examines his deeds. I feel like the many battles I’ve waged these past 15 years have begun to spill into the personal arena, and that isn’t good. In Psalms it’s written that “sins will vanish from the earth’ – sins and not sinners. When I did my own personal introspection on Yom Kippur, I decided to focus on the errors in this war, not on those who commit them. To put the emphasis on the matter at hand, not on people.”Do you believe in remuneration?
“You mean reward and punishment? I believe that everything happens for a reason and a purpose. But most of the reasons are beyond us. We can’t understand them. When a little child suffers—it’s certainly not because of his sins. I believe that we need to learn and improve ourselves from within the situation we find ourselves in.”
A minute before we part he asks to add one more sentence. “I know that an article in a newspaper is not a greeting card with a poem,” he apologizes, “but the main reason I agreed to be interviewed was so I could have an opportunity to say thank you from the depths of my heart to the medical staff at Schneider Hospital and Tel HaShomer, and another huge thank you to the Creator of the World, and the tens of thousands of Jews who are praying all the time for David’s recovery.”