We wish to say it clearly: we support the democratic system
of government. We think that it is a good, effective system
of governance that has proven itself good for the Jews and
good for humanity in the more than two centuries that it has
been used in the West.
The chareidi community is often accused of being against
democracy, but this is not true. We are said to want a
theocracy, and this is somewhat true, but that desire is of a
purely theoretic nature and does not affect our politics. We
firmly maintain that we are thoroughly in golus, and
that it is not our responsibility to end this state through
any material means. The only steps that we take to end our
exile are in studying Torah and keeping Hashem's mitzvos. It
is up to Hashem to take whatever political or other steps
need to be taken to end our exile when we deserve it and/or
when He decides that it is time for the Redemption. For our
current political activities, we are very happy with
The Jewish community has fared well under modern democratic
systems. We have been left alone to practice our religion and
we have been able flourish both materially and spiritually.
Anyone with even a minimal familiarity with the happenings of
our long golus knows that the security that we have
enjoyed in modern stable democratic regimes is unprecedented.
Though there were good times in the past, things were always
subject to change at the death of the ruler, or even from a
change of heart in the reigning power.
This is not to say that democracy and antisemitism are
incompatible -- unfortunately there are antisemites and other
haters who take advantage of democratic opportunities to
foster their programs, such as Le Pen in France. Yet the
checks and balances, and especially the protection for
minorities that is so integral to the democratic system, seem
to have ruled out the evil excesses of the past.
The criticisms that we make of the institutions of Israeli
democracy are all substantive and based on generally accepted
-- and democratic -- principles. For example, in the area in
which we have recently been most hysterically accused of
undermining democratic principles and the rule of law, we
have not been criticizing the Israeli High Court per
se, as an institution, but only the conduct and
principles of its current president. Rather than address the
real issues that we raise about unbridled, unaccountable and
unelected judicial power, we are dismissed or vilified as a
threat to democracy and the rule of law in Israel.
We argue that aggressively "extending" the rule of law into
areas that are essentially political or deeply personal
undermines the rule of law and the democratic institutions of
Israel. For example, when the High Court arrogates to itself
the right to decide whether and when to close a local street -
- that undermines the respect that people have for the
Israeli court system. We do not say that defending the
Israeli political system is a priority of ours (especially
since there are so many others who are so concerned about
that), but it is not inconsistent for us to defend the system
when it breaks down in a way that threatens us.
We do not participate in the political process in order to
destroy it. We accept the theory and accept the ground rules.
We believe and expect that there will come a time when Hashem
will be the King of all the world, but it is laughable to
suggest that we send our representatives to the Knesset as a
step in that direction.