Ahead of the 2022 Snap Election of Prime Minister, we reached out to Rabbi Ambassador Mordechai Linhart: the Chief Rabbi of Lostisland and the incumbent Ambassador to Israel who runs for Federal Prime Minister on a joint ticket with Ambassador Jyoti Sawhney, the Ambassador to India and candidate for Deputy Prime Minister.
Lostisland.org: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Rabbi. Let’s start with the latest news: what are your thoughts on the ongoing political crisis in Lostisland and the snap election triggered after just 8 days in office of PM Ostroukhova?
Linhart: First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to give this interview. With regards to the political crisis, all I can say is that valuable time has been wasted. Also, though I respect PM Ostroukhova’s decision to resign, I feel that it would have been better for her to have formed a government and let the Deputy PM run the show. This would have been better for Lostisland and saved us from having to go through another round of elections.
Lostisland.org: What problems do you believe the Federal Republic is facing now, and why did you decide to put forward your candidacy for Prime Minister, being a religious leader and a diplomat?
Linhart: What problems the Federal Republic isn’t facing? Not only is Lostisland in the midst of a serious political crisis, but above all, it has been leaderless for years (except for H.E. the President who has always been a dedicated servant to our Nation and People). Lostisland has been a kind of sleeping beauty, with thorns and bushes growing all around it. Over the last four years, we have been seeing diplomats dismissed, embassies closed, corruption infesting every corner of the government, state officials that seemed to have sought titles but no responsibility, etc. We have lost our national pride, and citizens have forgotten the privilege it is to be part of this great Republic. Now, I didn’t see myself ever running, but to have seen such a poor turnout at elections, hearing that we lost 2/3 of our citizens due to not voting, came to me as a shock. Adding to that the resignation of the PM, after only 8 days and without forming a government, simply gave me no choice. I love the Federal Republic. I consider myself a Patriot and as such, it is my duty, as a citizen, to do what I can to save Lostisland. Yes, I do have other responsibilities, but I am ready to take on this challenge and hope to succeed.
Lostisland.org: You’ve mentioned corruption. Indeed, many Lostislandic politicians admit that Lostisland’s political system is corrupt to the bone; allegedly, there have even been cases of Lostislandic identity cards issued for a bribe to people who are not citizens, and some even claimed that anyone could become a Lostislandic ambassador for just $10K. Fighting corruption and “cleaning out the rat nest” was also the main pledge of PM Tezdzhanenko, but he himself admitted that corruption still exists in Lostisland. How do you intend to tackle this issue?
Linhart: It is easy to make promises and pledges, but the key is to lead by example. Another, and some might feel this is too radical, is to start from scratch. What do I mean by this? Simply that we need new, committed, patriotic, and active officials. Officials who want to make a difference. Who want to be the heart that pumps that blood, excitement, and national pride, into the Nation and its People. At the same time, and this is my commitment to the People if elected, I will get the Federal Intelligence and Security Service to investigate and look more into those specific accusations that you mentioned and bring those found guilty to justice (ask H.E. the President to withdraw their citizenship). We need an accountable government, that is responsible and will do all that is in its power to advance the interest of Lostisland and leads its people into a new era with integrity.
Lostisland.org: If elected, you will be the first-ever Haredi Jew to become the head of government — not just in Lostisland, but anywhere in the world. As we know, not even in Israel has this ever happened. What would it mean for the Jewish community of Lostisland that the Chief Rabbi is also the Prime Minister?
Linhart: First of all I want to stress that I am a firm believer in keeping political and religious affairs strictly separate. One of the main reasons being is that the government represents the whole population and not only a specific group of people. As such I would fight for the rights of all people to choose the way and lifestyle they wish, as long as it stays in the private sphere. So, you can be assured that I will keep both offices strictly separate, and I will treat all religious communities and groups equally.
Lostisland.org: In your election statement, you say you will establish diplomatic relations with leading micronations and certain countries. Could you elaborate on that, considering that Lostisland usually does not engage in formal diplomatic relations with other new nation projects (micronations)?
Linhart: The nation’s influence is measured by the diplomatic ties it has with other countries, micronations, or others. We have a diplomatic corps and need to use it to advance the interest of Lostisland all over the world. There needs to, at least, be an online presence (Twitter and WhatsApp) where citizens can get their updates and contact our diplomatic representative for that country or region. We should, via those embassies, reach out to each country that boasts our embassy, also finding out more about any micronations that might be found in that country. Of course, we don’t have diplomatic ties with everybody, but with those we do, they should know that having diplomatic ties with us is a privilege. We need to make our Republic what it is, special and important. It is like that, that we will succeed and, at the same time, reach those that never might have heard of Lostisland before.
Lostisland.org: I would like to ask you several questions about your ethnic and linguistic policies. As we know, back in the days Lostisland was founded by a group of Russians (the so-called “Old Guard”). Subsequently, most of the Old Guard have either left Russia or left Lostisland, many people from other countries joined our organization, and Russian Lostislandians no longer have the influence they once had. Nonetheless, about 15% of Lostislandians still live in Russia, which is more than in any other given country. Do you intend to implement some special approach towards the Russian community, considering Lostisland’s strongly pro-Ukraine stance and the crackdown on civil liberties in Russia?
Linhart: I am a firm believer in a uniform system, which will mean that it would not depend on where citizens live and how big the population there is, but that he or she is a citizen. As such there will be no difference between those countries where larger amounts of our citizens live. With regards to Russia, it is important for us not to get involved in a country’s internal national issues and politics. This said, we care and worry about our citizens that live there and encourage them to keep a low profile and avoid getting into trouble with the present government. If elected I would request our foreign ministry to issue travel warnings to Russia and encourage citizens to leave Russia (for those that have an option to do so). With regards to languages, I would put forward a referendum to limit the official languages of Lostisland to two only, one being English.
Lostisland.org: What would the second language be?
Linhart: To decide on this I would turn to our citizens. It is important to involve the citizens in as much as possible so that they feel valued and see that they also have a say in the running of our Republic. It should not only be limited to elections.
Lostisland.org: Returning to the subject of Russia: do you think it is necessary for security reasons to ban Russian citizens and residents from applying for Lostislandic citizenship as we did with Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Linhart: This should be decided by a working government, through proper vote and consultation with our security establishment.
Lostisland.org: If you and Ambassador Sawhney win the election, what will be the future of the embassies in Israel and India? Do you intend to find successors or remain Ambassadors yourselves?
Linhart: I would remain Ambassador, but should I realize at any given time that I am unable to follow my responsibilities as Ambassador or PM, I would recommend a person to replace me. With regards to H.E. Ambassador Sawhney, I can’t speak for her, but she is doing a fantastic job and I hope that she retains her position at the Indian Embassy.
Lostisland.org: Ambassador Sawhney is indeed often considered one of the best Lostislandic diplomats. However, it is no secret that many of our diplomats are inactive, and the former Ambassador to Andorra even lost his citizenship due to not voting in the election. What, do you believe, needs to be done to finally solve the issue of ambassadorial inactivity and negligence of duties?
Linhart: We need a serious reform of our diplomatic system. If elected, I would request the Foreign Minister to form a committee that will be assigned to come up with a plan and program to make our diplomatic corps more effective. Inactive Ambassadors should be set an ultimatum and, if no changes take place, should be asked to hand in their resignation to the Foreign Minister.
Lostisland.org: Would you be willing now to announce the composition of the Linhart-Sawhney cabinet? Is there anyone in the caretaker government or former governments whom you’d like to continue serving? Will we see new ministries being created?
Linhart: I can’t announce this right now, but what I can say is that our cabinet would be composed of active citizens only, as the government needs to lead by example. The creation of new ministries might happen, but only after taking advice from H.E. Sawhney and H.E. the President, to ensure that those will assist to run our Republic more efficiently.
Lostisland.org: Is there something else that you would like to tell the voters ahead of the election?
Linhart: The upcoming elections are a critical moment, where the citizens of Lostisland will decide the future of our Republic. The most important point is that I would like to encourage our citizens to vote, might it be for me or one of the other candidates. Use your vote to shape our Micronation into something bigger and better and allow it to become more influential. If you want to Make Lostisland Great Again vote for Linhart-Sawhney.
All the information regarding the 2022 Snap Election of Prime Minister is available on Snap Election 2022: the official election central of Lostisland.