Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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A Few Questions to MK Candidate R. Baruch Marzel

We were scheduled to meet today with Yachad / Otzma party candidate in the Israeli elections, Rabbi Baruch Marzel.  R. Marzel is known as the far-far right side of Israeli politics.  Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts we ended up with only a few moments with the candidate, and most of the answers from the party manager (quoting interviews the candidate gave to other reporters before me).

Here’s the questions we got answers to (exact quotations not guaranteed, in some cases I re-worded for better presentation or understanding)…

QUESTION. After the election, assuming the Yachad party list passes the Israeli parliament electoral threshold, will Yachad be operating as one party or two with Otzma l’Yisroel (in other words, did the parties merge or are they merely working together only for the election)?

Answer - Otzma operates semi-independently, but will coordinate closely with Yachad. They (Otzma) will not sit in a government coalition with Likud (with Netanyahu) if Likud is talking about 2 state solutions (a news item from yesterday, about 2 state negotiations about 5 years ago that failed).   However, Yachad probably would not sit with Likud if they were talking 2 state solution either.

QUESTION. Israel has growing army and security needs, yet the growing charedi/yeshiva demographic means both less young men available for the army, and the available charedi young men having less secular skills to bring to the army. What’s your approach for managing the army need for more men and skills with a growing religious population?

Answer - Serious Torah learners should really learn, but the others should be involved in State service programs or go to work, given an appropriate context sensitive to the needs of the religious community.

Follow Up – Over the next 10 years, the demographic problem is going to begin to directly affect army manpower.

Answer – We’ll deal with the problem as it develops over those 10 years.  We don’t need to solve the whole problem, with all it’s societal impact, right now.

QUESTION. The Arabs of the Shomron. We can't live with them, we can't risk separating from them (as they will then prepare attacks upon us), and we can't force them out. What should we do? And if it's manage the balance as in the current situation, why are we paying their electric bill?

Answer  - The Arabs who want to live in a Jewish state of Israel as participating law abiding citizens, should be allowed to live here. But if they want to kill us or kick us out, they should be kicked out.  They want Tel Aviv, they want Holon – there is no difference in the approach of the PLO or Hamas in discussing the Shomron (West Bank) and Tel Aviv. Note the PLO has never made an agreement recognizing even Tel Aviv as Jewish.

Follow Up - Maybe buy them out? (Give them money if the voluntarily agree to leave.)

Answer - That’s an option.

QUESTION. (This question was exclusively for the party manager.)  Please explain what rabbinical supervision of the party means in practice / actuality.

Answer - The party is committed to listening and adhering to the rabbinical decisions on issues that are relevant for rabbinical consultation.  On most issues the politicians are doing their thing, on major issues like “giving back land” they get rabbinical consultation. Of course on issues that are religious, such as conversion issues, which streams of Judaism should be on the Israeli rabbinute beis dins, or who’s a Jew and who’s not for purposes of aliyah and recognition of Jewish status by the Mininstry of Interior, on these types of issues the party parliament members will act according to the rabbinic opinion of the party rabbinic council.

If we are able to schedule follow up questions, we’ll be sharing!

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