Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Paradigm Shift In the Mafdal/Bait Yehudi

Four years ago there was a popular explanation why the Mafdal was doing so badly - namely it was that it had been focusing too long on being a "right wing" party (a.k.a settler party). The solution was to refocus on classic National Religious issues - Hesder Yeshivot, and "bridging" the divide between the Haredim and non religious.

That was three years ago. Famously the Mafdal did terribly in the last election, and frankly hasn't really managed to re-brand itself. So what is this elections explanation of why no one is interested in the Mafdal?

1. We are not right wing enough. This is being said, but no one seems to really believe it.
2. The religious public no longer feels that it "seperate". The public feels that its real mission is to connect with Israeli culture (E.g Srugim), and hence is going to the big parties like the likkud.
3. People are scared that the Mafdal is becoming too illiberal or over religious. A large group of the public feels that voting for a "national religious" party is identifying with all the scandals of the last year  - Women singing.

There seems to be a consensus that the Mafdal will not win back those who left it for being too right wing. That is partly why it is willing to run with the Ichud Haelumi - including some of their openly racist figures. However, this miserable choice of joining with the most extreme right wing party in Israeli politics, will make it impossible for someone like me (who does feel indebted to the religious zionist institutions that gave him so much) actually "come home".

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