Sunday, June 10, 2012

Habayit Hayehudi - Habayit or Yehudi?

Interesting news coming out of the Mafdal (currently calling itself Habayit Hayehudi = The Jewish Home), where for the first time Ayelet Shaked -  a non religious person (and a female!) is running to be on their Kneesset list.

Ayelet Shaked is best known for being the driving force behind Israel Sheli. Israel Sheli is credited as representing the non religious right of center (or right of right) Israeli camp.  She is part of Naftali Bennet's political camp, and is openly supporting him to head the party. But what does it mean when someone non religious is trying to represent the Religious Zionist party?

Option A: This is the triumph of "Nationalism" over the "Religious".  The Mafdal is more associated with the nationalist camp then representing the RZ camp.

Option B: This is the first sign that the RZ camp can finally become the "bridge" it always imagined itself to be in Israeli society. It is an acceptance that the RZ camp is part of the general Israeli personality and no longer a small closed subgroup.

I'm not quite ready to make the call between the two options. My cynical self believes option A - however, option B is quite possible. As I've argued previously the declining power of the Mafdal can be linked to the fact that the RZ public no longer feels that it needs its own representation. If RZ politicians are increasingly going to the general parties such as the Likkud, why should the same process not work in reverse?

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