Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Monday, June 14, 2004

A response to a further comparison of Manhigut Yehudit to Gush Emunim

I believe that considering the infancy of Manhigut Yehudit it has been extremely successful. Its goal at the moment is to gain political power within the Likud party in order to then influence the value changes necessary in Israeli society. It has also been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is in the process of happening, even though the movement is only in its infancy and only a mere 5% of the Likud central committee membership. The reason it has succeeded is because it has harnessed the idealogues of the Likud who have been leaderless. (it just so happens that currently the Land of Israel issue is the hot potato political issue that has actually assisted MY in gaining more of a leadership role within the Likud, but that is not its whole agenda).

Also, they don't believe that the silent majority of Israelis believe with their values, they believe that the silent majority of Israelis want a more Jewish identity for the State of Israel (proven in numerous surveys and polls) yet have no leadership leading them in the direction to accomlish that goal. It will take much time in harnessing the desire of that silent majority to support MY in its agenda. We are not deluded as the greatness of this goal. Will it succeed? It might and it might not. But I'm surprised at a position that negates even giving it a chance because of a fear of failure. Is this fear based on the fear of further erosion for the stature of the Dati Leumi community in Israeli society? That I also negate since, with our assistance or without, that erosion is steadily proceeding without any activities of Manhigut Yehudit.

I believe that MY's endeavors should be given a chance - doubts and all. The current political environment hasn't done the Dati Leumi community any good, only harm.

As for the doubt that developing communities in YESHA without selective acceptance would have amde a change - Yes, the goal of 2 million Jews in Yesha would probably have come to fruition if those selective committees were not established in the YESHA communities - Ariel and Maale Adumim are full with a diversified group of Israelis. If more communities like that would have been created in the beggining as well, it would have made a huge difference. Let us not forget that it is due to the fact that most of the yishuvim are selectively all religious that the Dati Leumi community, with Gush Emunim, created an elitism and stigma that might not have been created if most settlements followed the same mold as Ariel and Maale Adumin.

In response to your feeling that Manhigut Yehudit is reading the map incorrectly just to reinforce the feeling of its members that it is succeeding - I don't believe they are viewing the map incorrectly at all. They do not believe that the silent majority of Israelis currently believe in their cause, but they do know that the silent majority of Israelis want the State of Israel to have a more Jewish identity and the current religious parties are failing to accomplish any change in this realm because they are sectoral parties after their own interests (a very big chilul Hashem that continues day by day). Therefore they are building upon this silent majority to either continue supporting the Likud or join the Likud because only the Likud has the power to work towards successfully strengthening the Jewish character of the State, as its constitution says it is supposed to. Also, as opposed to public perception, MY does not want to flood the Likud with new members to take over the party - it only wants to make up a substantial, but relatively small, percentage of the party membership - larger than 5% but much lower than 40%-50% because it does not want to take over the party numberswise, but ratehr work together with the existing Likud faithful.

Will MY be vilified for true or untrue statements and positions? Will some Likud faithful be afraid of associating with them and attack them? Of course that will happen, it already it. But I don't believe it will harm it or the Likud in the long run.

The MY train has left the station. It will take a long time to reach its destination, but it is not turning back. The Likud might have its ups and downs - due to MY's identification with the party or not. But most Likud members/voters won't be running to any other party because of them and, over time, they will see the true face of MY and support it in its endeavors in the Likud party.

I leave you with the following thoughts and then I think this should be continued at the debate between you and Moti Karpel.

1. Meimad tried a number of ways to influence the Jewish character of Israeli society at the political level and failed in all of them.
2. The existing political structure does not allow the Dati Leumi community to influence, only to disgrace itself (personal belief).
3. The right wing/religious non-parliamentary groups have tried a numer of times to unify over the past 12 years (Prof. Hillel Weiss tried twice with Hatikvah in 1993 and again in 1995 under another name) in order to pressure the right wing/religious political parties to unify for the good of the nation - all failed endeavors.
4. The religious parties tried to secretly unify in 1996 - a failed endavor.
5. Social action without political actioin will not change Israel - not when the establishment (press, politics, beaurocrats etc) are all pursuing a different agenda.

A new direction needs to be tried and MY is currently the only political option open to us, and so far they are succeeding. Especially when we look at the history of failed endeavors to change the direction the State of Israel is going, I think we should give MY a chance to succeed.


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