Analysis: Instead Of Mollifying The New Leaders, Chareidi MKs Prefer To Insult Them

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Yamina Party member Naftali Bennett attends the Srugim conference in Jerusalem on Sept. 2, 2019 (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) β€” Over 2000 years of turbulent exile, Jews have always mastered the art of Shtadlanus, or lobbying with the existing government. In most cases, the government was not favorably inclined towards its Jewish minority and the lobbying required both finesse and resolute, bold leadership in order to maintain the basic rights of a persecuted and despised minority. If the lobbyists were successful, the Jews could enjoy a period of relative calm despite the numerous enemies they had.

Although there is no parallel between the current situation in Israel and the years spent in exile under gentile rule, the rules of currying favor with an elected government have not changed. There is no rationale for employing shrill, belligerent rhetoric against a government which one will have to work with in the future and acrimonious insults and ad hominem attacks will simply make it harder to attain the best results from a non-ideal situation.

Chareidi MKs, having been in every government for the past twenty five years except for the previous Bennett-Lapid alliance in 2013-2015 are obviously distressed by Bennett’s apparent partnership with the most rabidly anti-Chareidi elements in the Knesset. However this is no justification for using the pejorative term: “May the name of the wicked rot” towards Bennett even before he has sworn in his government, or stating that “he should take off his Kipah.” These are just two of the epithets hurled at Bennett by irate chareidi MKs over the past day in an increasingly divisive atmosphere.

Yet if the chareidi leadership is to succeed in mitigating the damage from a Bennett government, they are definitely going about it the wrong way. If Rabbi Yochanan had hurled invective at the Romans, he would not have saved Yavneh and its sages. Realizing however that the Romans were now the effective rulers, he initiated the first Shtadlonus of his period and achieved his goal of maintaining Torah study for posterity.

It behooves the chareidi leaders to realize that a) Naftali Bennett and Gidon Saar and their parties are the best options to counter any dangerous left-wing initiatives in the Knesset b) there are still 65 MKs in the Knesset who are sympathetic towards tradition and could vote against these initiatives c) The invective should be saved for the true enemies of Torah in the Knesset, who never try to hide their intentions towards chareidim.

Alienating a prime minister, however one feels about how he gained power, is both unwise and ineffective, since in the long run he is the person responsible for making the final decisions and if he would cave in to pressure due to criticism from the chareidim, he could likewise do the same when under pressure from the left-wing supported by the rampantly secular media. If anything the chareidim need to promise quiet support from outside the government in return for attaining their goals. In this way, when Yair Lapid becomes prime minister they can foster collaboration with Yemina and Saar to “save Yavneh and its sages” rather than repeatedly confronting the government which could persuade all the parties to close ranks to the detriment of the chareidi public.


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