Israeli foreign policy expert and national-conservative intellectual Avigdor Eskin spoke exclusively to The Schpiel in an interview last week.
You are known as a critic of the Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman. What do you think his motivations are for his behavior in the Israeli coalition talks so far?
The first time I met Lieberman in my life was in January 1979, at the office of the Kach movement, soon after I made Aliyah. Rabbi Kahane introduced me to him as the head of his chapter at Hebrew University. Lieberman was active in Kach for only a few months. Later, he joined Likud and made his career there.
He has come a very long way from Rabbi Kahane to supporting the casino in Jericho and the Palestinian state. For a long time, it has been clear that he has no ideology. He is all about money and power. In the current case, we see his desire for personal revenge. Netanyahu has no respect for him. Lieberman is considered to be a second grade politician: poor plebeian Hebrew, no reasonable knowledge of English, no army or any other background. Lieberman keeps trying to make the elite respect him, and he fails over and over again.
If new elections were to go ahead in Israel, do you expect the results to be fairly similar to those of the last elections or do you think there will be some major shifts?
I think that the right wing and religious parties will do much better. There are three possible reasons for that:
- Hopefully, small parties like the New Right and Zehut will be more responsible, and will not lose us six pro-Jewish seats in the Knesset.
Lieberman will be punished by his voters.
The Blue and White is not exciting. It is destined to go down.
United Right MK Bezalel Smotrich has suggested there is a plot by the Israeli deep state to oust the Prime Minister, much like the one by the U.S. deep state against President Trump in the United States. Do you think there is any truth to this assertion, and if so, should the Prime Minister pursue legislation to grant himself immunity from prosecution?
There is no deep state, and there is no plot. There is an open attempt to remove Netanyahu. We know exactly who is behind it: the police, the prosecutors, the liberal academics and the media. And what they are doing is totally evil and dreadfully harmful.
The same is true about the great President Trump. He challenged the establishment and the establishment gave him a fight. No plot, but open struggle.
I hope that Netanyahu will be as victorious as Donald Trump is. The legislation is absolutely necessary for the sake of the country. For the sake of Israel, it must be implemented.
During the recent Israeli elections, Meretz and Blue and White falsely suggested that Russia was supporting Likud. While there is no evidence for this, with your experience in dealing with Russia, would you say Bibi’s re-election bears good signs for Israel-Russia relations? Can Russia help Israel in containing Iran?
Russia is not our friend, although Putin is a very friendly President. In any case, Russia will be guided by Russian interests. And our interests are almost totally similar in Syria. Putin does not want the Iranians there either. Not for the sake of Israel, but for his own reasons.
Just to set the record straight: Israel has increased its attacks on Iranian sites in Syria by multiple times since the Russians came three and a half years ago.
The Kremlin did not interfere in our elections, but his friendship with President Putin might have helped Netanyahu. This is one of his accomplishments.
With the recent strong results of pro-Israel, patriotic forces in the European elections, has the time come for Israel to expand its ties with growing parties like the Austrian Freedom Party, the Sweden Democrats, Alternative for Germany and the French National Rally?
This is all positive for Israel. Many of these people are our friends. At the same time, however, we must watch out for the neo-Nazi trends in Germany and in other countries.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has advocated the “illiberal state” model as the ideal for the 21st century nation-state. Bearing in mind current demographic trends in Israel, is it possible for Israel to shift towards this model and would you favor it?
Israel is the Jewish State, but actually Israel is much more. This is the fulfillment of all Biblical prophecies; this is the clearest manifestation of G-d’s will and virtue. Israel is the ultimate manifestation of truth and righteousness by its very existence.
Therefore, we should not downgrade it to any sort of nationalistic or democratic paradigm. Our goal is to strengthen the prophetic and spiritual ground. The Jewish State is much more than just another nation state or another democratic state. Israel carries the universal idea of redemption and enlightenment. We are dealing with eternal values here.
Having said that, however, I will add that Orban’s vision is further proof that the current orthodox approach to liberal democracy as the ultimate must is shortsighted.
Is there any hope for the restoration of civilization in South Africa and what should Israel learn from its fall?
I had worked with the previous government of South Africa from 1986 until its fall. I helped them on international scene and I can testify that Israel never had better friends – the most wonderful people.
The process of dismantling South Africa preceded the Oslo process, but it was all the same. The difference is that Israel stopped at a certain time and South Africa took it to its logical outcome – the genocide of the whites.
This is the strongest warning which came to us from the Almighty.
I do not see the situation in Israel as similar to theirs. But we must see the terrible results: White people are murdered and raped every day and the world is silent.
Is there still hope for them? Let us pray, and let us help our friends there. Instead of the old South African government, there is now a barbaric pro-terrorist and anti-Israel government in Pretoria. Let us not make such terrible mistakes ourselves.