Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Adar I 5763 - February 27, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The NRP Sells Out

We do not look for our salvation to the government of Israel. It is not this or that party or politician or back room deal that guarantees the future of Torah learning. It is the promise of Hashem that it will not be forgotten from Israel that is our insurance against the attacks from all sides. The Torah of Israel protects the people of Israel, and it can also protect itself. Still we are certainly concerned about the serious threat to Torah learning and Judaism generally that is posed by the new government formed in Israel.

Forming any alliance with Shinui, as Likud and the National Religious Party did in signing a coalition agreement, must be problematic since Shinui has made it clear that the one thing it will maintain, whatever concessions it will make, is its hatred of all public expressions of Judaism.

For the Likud, the real test will be in the practical actions of its new government. Prime Minister Sharon has certainly learned one of the major techniques of wisdom as recommended by Chazal in that he is very sparse in his public statements of his true intentions. Thus, it is very hard to predict exactly what he will and will not do, as the months unfold. Because of his influence as prime minister, a great deal is dependent on what he does and what he does not do.

With the National Religious Party (NRP), there is already room for serious criticism. It seems that the NRP shared with Shinui the goal of forming a government without any chareidim. NRP leader Effi Eitam sees the chareidim -- and mainly Shas -- as the main reason that his party has declined in its electoral strength in recent years, and apparently he believes that keeping chareidim out of the government will allow his party to reassert its control over the levers of power that it lost in the years that Shas was the senior religious partner in various governments.

NRP leader Effi Eitam, a retired IDF general, was brought in at the top of the party hierarchy before the recent elections, to bring fresh thinking and to restore the party's waning appeal. His thinking is certainly new to the NRP: he has sold out all the party's traditional ideals.

The NRP always saw the State of Israel as a religious phenomenon, as the actual first step of the Redemption of the Jewish people. This was in contrast to the chareidi community which saw the State as a purely secular phenomenon that had to be dealt with as any other part of life, and whose anti- religious aspects -- which are unfortunately pretty extensive and dominant -- are certainly just a further part of our long golus.

Therefore, for NRP to join forces with a party like Shinui, whose central goal -- as it loudly declares at every opportunity -- is to erase all Jewish substance from the State of Israel, is nothing less than an abandonment of the defining issue of the National Religious Party itself vis-a- vis the "ultra-Orthodox." The NRP always insisted that in Israel politics is religion. Now they joined forces with the very group that aims to remove all religion from Israeli politics. That thinking is certainly new to the NRP but it does not seem that it will be beneficial to the NRP and it certainly will do harm to the people of Israel.

Our concern is, of course, not for the NRP's principles, but for the Yahadus of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisroel. Our gedolim have always stressed the importance of keeping Judaism in the communal fabric of the State for pragmatic reasons: to preserve as much as possible of the link between the Jewish People and Hashem and His Torah that is so severely tested in modern times. Shinui should be completely banished from a respectable role in the Jewish future. To even allow its disgusting leader a legitimate governmental role should be unthinkable.

The NRP is by no means monolithic, and we hope that the voices of those who better understand the priorities of the Jewish people will be loudly heard.

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