To the panoply of religious parties in Israel, add a new one to be headed by Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak, the renowned “exhorter to repentance” who has influenced thousands of Israelis to return to their religious heritage.
A report on the Kikar Shabbat web site Monday said that Yitzchak was planning to announce that his “Koach Lehashpia” (“The Power to Make an Impact”) would appeal to Israeli voters with a platform that advocates religious education in all schools, free higher education for all, an end to bureaucracy, and equal rights and opportunity for the handicapped, among other things.
The site quoted an advisor close to Yitzchak as saying that while the rabbi himself might not necessarily place himself on the list, all those chosen for the party's list would accept him as its spiritual leader. The advisor said he could not reveal any information on the candidates at this time. He added that a formal announcement would be made in the coming days.
Kikar Shabbat quoted a government official as saying that an application to run as an official party in the name of “Koach Lehashpia” had already been made with the Electoral Registry. A party platform has already been produced, and will be officially released and distributed at the end of the week, the site said.
According to the report, Yitzchak has for months been actively recruiting volunteers to help with the election effort via his Facebook page.
Yitzchak is considered one of the most effective “preachers” in the burgeoning Jewish repentance (teshuva) movement, famous for his speeches that culminate in secular youths coming on stage to get haircuts and pray together with the rabbi and members of the audience. His shofar organization publishes several newsletters, and his persuasive voice and message have reached hundreds of thousands of Israelis via the CDs his followers distribute for free at major road intersections, restaurants, and shopping malls.