Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Who To Vote For in Israel ?!?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A long time reader asked, "There seems to be a split in how to vote in the upcoming Israel elections. One view (among parts of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community) is not to vote because it might be a trap, and haredim are saying not to be included and not responsible. (Peleg and Eida). The other view says vote Yahadut HaTorah (Rav Kanievsky)

I also feel there is a “surprise” result to this election.  I think that Netanyahu would do whatever he can to get elected (unscrupulously).  Even link with the Blue and White party (which would get him out of actually declaring sovereignty on our Eretz Yisrael).

Can you do any kind of analysis, and post it?"

Sure, I've been meaning to -- and you've motivated me to get to it, here we go...

The position of the Lubavitcher Rebbe has always made the most sense to me as a religious Jew, it is: vote for a religious party and a party that protects the Land of Israel's territory (that does not go with "land for peace" - or as can better be written nowadays "land for pieces of Jews blown up").

The problem is that the seemingly ultra-orthodox Jewish religious parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas are: NOT RELIGIOUS, and have demonstrated historically that they have no care for protecting the Land OR the citizens of Israel.

What they are is good old fashioned patronage parties for their segment of the observant Jewish community, meaning they exist to funnel government budget and resources to their people.  This is easily demonstrable by looking at their record: when religious issues have arisen, such as Shabbat construction on public infrastructure in Tel Aviv - they avoided being drawn into the issue (of governmental desecration of the Sabbath) which could have forced them to leave the government coalition. And they have supported land for pieces of Jews (for additional budget allocations).  But on budget issues and control issues of certain government authorities, they will push it to the limit.

It should be no surprise they have strong support among their constituency, and are growing through the strong demographic growth of their segment of society.  After all, if your jobs or yeshiva or synagogue are dependent on their party success...you are theirs.

So what parties care about the Land of Israel, the safety of the citizens of Israel, and the support of Judaism and Jewish culture in this the Land of Israel?

There are only 3:  Otzma Yehudit (The Jewish Strength Party), Yemina (The New Right Party), and Noam - which is a pop-up insta-party coming out of a segment of the national religious community.

Otzma Yehudit has been under continual attack by the secular system, including having 3 party members banned from running for the Knesset, because they insist that Jewish religious and cultural rights should have equal priority in the Land and State of ISRAEL as democratic rights.  This means no more land for pieces of Jews, and the courts shouldn't be able to decide that the secular fad of the moment overrides Judaism.

Yemina, a mess of a mix of small right wing groups and power trips of who should be in charge of what, has Bennett and Shaked, who were Education and Justice ministers that made significant changes in these roles previously.  Bennett re-introduced basic Jewish education to the Jewish population in the public school system in Israel, after it had been dropped.  And Shaked had been reforming how judges are chosen to move qualified judges who are also religious into the court system, where people with religious views were almost completely unrepresented.

Unfortunately they made a mess of managing the internal party politics and their own ambitions, and trashed their previously successful structure.  And they're having to deal with a variety of arguments such as "everything they supported was not 100% religious" and "they are not personally sufficiently religious".

Noam actually might be interesting as they don't suffer from the mistakes of Yemina's leadership or the secular attacks on Otzma, but they have taken some extremist religious positions and are unlikely to gain enough votes to enter the Knesset.

This leaves Otzma as the only viable option for a religiously observant Jew in Israel.  The primary argument against them has been that they might not achieve the minimum necessary to get in.  However polls say they should succeed, and the chaos of Yemina and other factors are moving enough voters in their direction.

As a religious Jew living in the Land of Israel, I consider it prohibited to vote for United Torah Judaism or Shas, as both have never shown any concern for the Land of Israel or for the safety of the citizens of Israel, nor for the religious character of the State, which is the responsibility of every Jew, particularly those who call themselves religious.

In Israel, politics can be an existential - life or death - matter.  Wars or terrorism, G-d forbid, or prosperity and stability, can come from the decisions these politicians make.  And a generation can be drawn to or repelled from their eternal heritage as Jews the same way.

For these reasons I urge every citizen of Israel to vote Otzma or Likud.  It's the only reasonable response to an election campaign which has turned against JUDAISM.  That's a discussion for my next article.

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