Sunday, March 03, 2013

When Politicians Take Emotional Positions

I don't see how any coalition that forms at this point could possibly survive.

During the election campaign, Likud and Shas acted horribly towards HaBayit HaYehudi and Naftali Bennett, and things didn't improve afterwards either. And besides the Bennett and Lapid pact, no one trusts one another at all.

And if you listen to the politicians, you can really feel that palpable hatred and mistrust, especially coming from certain Chareidi politicians.

There are Chareidi politicians who are going so far as openly threatening to help destroy settlements just to get even (which in their anger and hatred, they forget includes ten of thousands of Chareidim also living in settlements).

What's even more absurd is that much of the Chareidi street no longer agrees with their political leaders.

Yes, there is that hard-core that would definitely sit in jail for years, rather than go to the army, get a job, and support their families, but much of the Chareidi world is opening up to the idea that there is no shame in working for a living, while still learning Torah.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a Chareidi soldier currently in the Shachar (Air Force) program.

He told me the program wasn't exactly like they described in brochure (so to speak). There were and are a lot of problems that needed fixing in order for the environment be more kosher for Chareidim, and he's not happy with the job he got stuck with. But on the other hand, in another year or so he's free to do what he wants, whether it will be to get a job, or sit in Yeshiva and learn forever.

What was interesting, is that nearly all the other Chareidim in the room had also done army service to one degree or another, and all were working, and all had Chavrusahs. In fact, there was a Siyum Masechet going on at the time for one them, and this week, another will be doing his Siyum.

So despite serving in the army, and despite working for a living, these Chareidim were still voluntarily learning and living a completely Chareidi lifestyle.

Are there problems with the army programs for Chareidim? You bet there are.

But the biggest problem is that there aren't enough Chareidim in the army to make a difference and fix it.

How can you really expect a non-religious soldier to create a totally kosher environment when he hasn't the faintest clue what that even means? If there were more Chareidim in the army, they would be able to ensure that the environment met their needs, because they actually understand what those needs are.

You can't force a society to change overnight. You can't throw an entire sector in jail (they tried that during the Disengagement, and it doesn't work).

But the reality is that most Chareidim want to join Israeli society and share in the national burden, but Israeli society must also be prepared for the changes that will be demanded of it too for that to happen, and for that to work. And I don't think Israeli society is ready for that either.

But those changes will be good for everyone. But they need to be introduced at the right pace.

But going back to the politicians, if we take them all at their word, I don't see how this coalition will not evolve into everyone doing their best to hurt one another until the collape, and that eventually includes even Lapid and Bennett.

Israeli society may be healing and working to repair the rifts, but the politicians? At this point I'm having trouble seeing that happen.

Israel might need to roll the proverbial dice again and go for new elections, because this atmosphere is simply to poisoned.


Anonymous said...

Harav Ovadia was right in hindsight. Bayit Shel Goyim.
Bennett could have gone with the right and force the anti-dati Lapid to dry up in opposition, instead he opted for him and Livni in a government.

JoeSettler said...

And how exactly could Bennett have done that, when even the head of Meretz received a phone call from Bibi, but Bennett didn't get a call for weeks, and not even a semi-serious attempt to negotiate until Bibi finally comprehended that Lapid really was conditioning his entry into the coalition upon Bennett's?

UTJ turned down the opportunity to make a pact with Bennett early on, when some of their rabbis refused to even meet with HaBayit HaYehudi rabbis. Their threats to support another disengagement certainly doesn't make them sound particularly trustworthy or desirable partners. They sound like they can be bought off by the highest bidder, whoever gives them what they want.

And you so adroitly just reminded us of just some of the low-brow remarks that emanated from Shas.

Unfortunately for them, Shas, UTJ, and Netanyau all took turns delegitimizing HaBayit HaYehudi, and there are consequences for that.

Perhaps the Chareidim will be in the coalition in the end, together with HaBayit HaYehudi, but they crossed some red lines, and this coalition is going to be a sick one because of that.

Avinoam said...

I second all of Joe Settler's comments, with one addition:

What exactly was the proud role of the haredi parties during the Gush Katif disengagement?
How dare they present themselves as previous defenders of the settlement enterprise?

Josh said...

Bennet has made all the right moves to expand his political power. The question is will it be for kiddush Hashem or not. So far, he's in the minus side, and only time will tell. I don't believe in accusing the Haredi politicians of all their sins without parallel introspection and the Bayit Yehudi have not been the pure techelet themselves.

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