MK Rabbi Chaim Amsallem, head of the new Am Shalem party, revealed more of his platform Sunday in an interview with Army Radio.
Amsallem, who split from Shas, has promoted his agenda on hareidi army service, the economy and on improving religious-secular relations, but has largely remained silent on diplomacy until now.
When pushed by interviewer Razi Barkai, Amsallem said he would make decisions regarding the peace process “according to halakhah [Jewish law] and according to common sense.”
Essentially, he added, his position is as follows, “I will support any agreement that promises 40 years of peace in the land.”
Amsallem addressed recent criticism of another hareidi party split-off, Koach Lehashpia, which was sounded by the renowned Sephardi religious leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He denounced Rabbi Yosef's critique as “genuine incitement... against anyone who dares to bring a different stance.”
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had charged Koach Lehashpia with violating a positive mitzvah (commandment) “to connect with Torah sages” by splitting to form his own party despite calls to work together. “Does he want a mitzvah gained by committing a sin?”Rabbi Ovadia asked.
The rabbi’s criticism could be seen as applying to Am Shalem as well.
MK Amsallem formed Am Shalem after disagreeing with Shas over topics including hareidi army recruitment and employment in the hareidi community. He has accused Shas of encouraging a way of life that runs counter to traditional Sephardi religious life, namely, full-time Torah study for men in place of both military service and paid work.
The party’s platform focuses primarily on unifying the various sectors of Israeli society.