Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

3 Shevat 5759 - Jan. 20, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







A Negev UTJ Forum is Founded

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A large meeting of the representatives of UTJ and the heads of the chareidi community of the Negev was held this past motzei Shabbos in the Ganei Hadar hall of Ofakim. It was attended by representatives of the local city councils, the local religious councils, and the heads of the region's Torah and chinuch institutions. At the end of the important meeting, a series of decisions were made, the main one being the founding of an eight-member Negev Forum.

Two weeks ago, a small scale meeting, attended by UTJ's representatives in the city councils of the Negev, was held. This meeting focused on founding a forum of chareidi representatives and heads of the chareidi communities in the south, who would work together and help each other in a broad range of areas, especially that of overcoming the difficulties they encounter with the heads of the local authorities and the government offices.

At the second, large scale meeting, representatives expressed sharp criticism and great pain over the current situation. They said that without a doubt it is possible to broaden the circle of supporters and voters for UTJ. However in the absence of an appropriate attitude, of an attentive ear and the extending of suitable help and assistance, the circle of supporters has remained the same, while other parties have managed to broaden their base of supporters significantly.

The spokesman stressed that there is nothing and no one to fear and that the time has come to hone matters to the point that the demands of the forum will be honored. Rabbi Yonah Pfeufer painfully described secular ads courting Arab voters, while nothing is being done to draw Jewish voters into the circle of supporters and voters of UTJ. Rabbi Wolpe noted that the various communities had hoped that a few "bones" and budgets would be tossed their way. But even this small bit wasn't offered to the Negev communities.

Rabbi bar Yochai spoke about the many school and kindergarten teachers employed by the Chinuch Atzmai and its Kindergarten Network. However, when elections for the councils and Knesset roll around, these employees support other parties. He suggested that seminars and meetings be held in order to inculcate correct outlooks and eliminate the current fear. Rabbi Mushiel Maimon bolstered Rabbi bar Yochai's remarks, and said that we must begin such efforts immediately.

Rabbi Nosson Weiss spoke about the need to strengthen the idea of the Negev Forum, saying that the time has come to establish a permanent, organized body, whose voice will be heard all of the time, and not only on the eve of elections. Rabbi Herzel Shauvi claimed that during a period when the large parties are collapsing, the extending of help on personal basis has a decisive influence on the dimension of the residents' support at election time. However, in order to extend this help, assistance from the government offices in which UTJ representatives officiate is needed.

This important event was closed by Rabbi Avrohom Deutsch of Ofakim, whose heartfelt and sincere words merited the approval of all present. "UTJ was not founded for Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak alone, but to broaden the circle, to reach the public at large, and to spread Yiddishkeit. Where can one achieve all this if not in the Negev? One has to experience life in the periphery and the development towns, and when one doesn't understand the ambience of the place and its needs, the attitude and the results are commensurate."


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