Monday, February 4, 2013

Haredi Political Parties Are Trying to Influence the Jewish Home Party- Some Thoughts

There are  reports (here,  and here) of intense lobbying by Haredi rabbis of Religious Zionist (RZ) ones, with the aim of influencing the Jewish Home party not to join with Yesh Atid, and changing the religious status-quo.

Some thoughts:

  • The list of RZ rabbis is quite telling: Harav Dov Lior, Melamed, Shmuel Eliyahu,  Levanon, Haim Druckman, Shapira and Harav Ariel. All, with the possible exception of Harav Druckman are considered Hardal (חרדי דתי לאומי) rabbis. The choice is partially explained by the fact that Tekuma - a Hardal party that is part of the "Jewish Home" - is controlled by its rabbis, as opposed to the Mafdal which has no clear rabbinic leaders. However, it is still vary much an open question how much influence such rabbis can have on the not especially frum Naftali Bennett. Personally, I would have recommended that the Haredi rabbis meet with the more liberal RZ rabbis who might have more influence on Bennett.
  • As usual, the RZ are the ones going to meet the Haredi ones and not the other way around. This is despite the fact that it is the Haredi rabbis who initiated the meetings, and the fact that all the RZ rabbis are far older than the Haredi ones they are meeting.
  • On Bechadrei Haredim, the only RZ rabbi to get the title of "Gaon"  is Harav Dov Lior. (On twitter @Ravtzair responded that i'm nitpicking, and that in other articles they referred to other RZ rabbis with that title)
  • (updated) The story in Kikar Hashabat adds another dimension few insights. First, is the explanation why Shas is out of this story - since the politicians in the Jewish Home are still angry over being called Goyim by Harav Ovadia during the campaign. Second, some of the RZ Rabbis are being targeted because their Yeshivot would also be harmed by any change to the status quo. For example, Mercaz Harav students often serve only 9 (or even 3) months in the army, as opposed to the usual 18 months in most Hesder Yeshivot. 
Late edit: In Ha'aretz, Harav Drori says that the Jewish Home leadership must consult with the Rabbis on this issue, because otherwise they "will be dead politically". 

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