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
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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