The results of the elections certainly arouse mixed feelings
in the chareidi community. Our Knesset representation went
up, but so did that of those who ran on a platform of hatred
First and foremost we must remember that politics and
governments are fleeting and passing, while our Torah is
eternal. Our task is to deal with the reality that confronts
us and to do our best to serve Hashem, come what may.
Our first immediate task is to celebrate the Zman Matan
Toraseinu and to grow in all ways. Let us emphasize that we
must be "as one man with one heart," and go with
simcha and love to receive the Torah with abundant
thanks to He who has chosen us from all the nations,
separated us from all those who stray and given as a Toras
What Can We Expect of Barak?
Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu seem to differ primarily in
the company they keep. This implies that the makeup of the
15th Knesset, and the governing coalition that Barak will put
together, will be very important in determining what the next
few years are like.
Barak's campaign was superficial -- exactly as ordered by his
American campaign strategists. He kept promising change (for
the better, of course), unity, brotherhood and peace, but he
said nothing about how he intended to reach these goals or
even work towards them. The closest he came to committing
himself was in citing more concrete goals -- such as creating
300,000 new jobs and pulling out of Lebanon within a year.
There was not a word about how he intended to go about
reaching those goals.
With only a relatively short history in politics (about five
years) and a military rather than political background, Barak
has very few ideological or political roots.
The result is that Barak is virtually a free agent. He can do
whatever he wants. On the other hand, he probably does not
have a very well developed sense of what he wants across the
board, in every facet of the political and social life of the
nation. We have seen him change his position 180 degrees on
the advice of someone he trusts.
Will he want to make a Jewish coalition? Will he try to
include at least some of the religious parties? Will he take
it for granted that Meretz is part of his government?
All these are critical issues and Barak's response to them
will have a critical effect on how things turn out over the
next few years.
More Detailed Analysis of the Results
It is clear that Barak's win is overwhelming -- a landslide.
He got around 56% of the total vote against an incumbent.
Yerushalayim was heavily Netanyahu. Even more than all of
Israel voted for Barak, Yerushalayim voted for Netanyahu, 65%
According to the preliminary results of Malam, 90% of the
votes of the religious cities went to Netanyahu, while 47% of
their votes went to UTJ. It was not clear exactly what is
included in this sample.
If Barak wants to take revenge, he will know where to turn.
However his early statements indicate that this will not be
the case, as he said that he will be the prime minister of
all Israelis, even those who did not vote for him.
The rise in the UTJ votes is gratifying and long awaited.
Many have worried about the steady four seats that seemed to
be the constant level of UTJ. In truth, some of the votes
that constituted their seats went to Shas over the last
fifteen years, and now they have finally recovered from that
loss and forged ahead.
The Right seems to have disappeared. It has lost any unifying
idea, and torn itself apart. At the moment it appears
unlikely that any of the candidates to succeed Netanyahu can
rally enough support to mount a credible challenge to Barak
in the foreseeable future.
volunteers returned home late at night, only after the votes
had been counted.