Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, head of the Beit El Yeshiva, underscored the importance of unity in Saturday night address as Israel's main goal.
Speaking to his students and followers, Rabbi Melamed emphasized in particular the necessity of unity in the religious-Zionist community and among rabbis serving the community. He himself spent countless hours in forming a large and unified group of religiuos Zionist rabbis.
Years of effort to create that bond have yielded fruit, the rabbi said, referring to the long- awaited unity agreement between the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and Ichud Leumi (National Union) parties, that it is hoped will succeed in giving the national religious population in Israel representation in proportion to its growing size.
He cited that the person who worked most ceaselessly and successfully to achieve this unity was Yaakov Katz ("Ketsaleh") who gets the credit for so much of the Jewish construction and growth of Judea and Samaria, where he was the practical arm of Rabbi Melamed himself - this at the behest of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, head of the Jerusalem Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, who assigned to them the mission of building the Torah world and the Jewish communities in the area in the seventies.
“We knew that the religious community has a variety of opinions, and the stronger and more principled the person, the harder it is for him to unite with that which is different. But despite this, our commonalities – those things that bind us together -- are huge,” he added, perhaps alluding also to the fact that this unity is paramount even though Ketsaleh, the man behind it, will not be running again in the current elections and newer faces will be on the joint list.
“We must always strive for unity,” he continued. Now, he said, the goal is unity in religious-Zionist politics is foremost.
“The community that celebrates Jerusalem Day, from Kahanists to 'Meimad' 9(the Labor party’s religious camp – ed.)... what we have in common is so tremendous that it justifies togetherness,” he said.
Rabbi Melamed's words were read on Israel's religious station Radio Kol Chai on Sunday morning as well as in religious Zionist yeshivot all over the country.