As long as it's not about religion and state

Time after time, Religious Zionism shies away from religious matters, at the most giving quiet backing to the haredi parties. Opinion.

Dov Kalmanovich,

Dov Kalmanovich
Dov Kalmanovich
Eliran Aharon

In recent days, we have witnessed the government's decision on the matter of the Western Wall Plan cancellation spearheaded by the haredi parties who, as usual, devote themselves to dealing with political aspects that smell of religion and state.

On the other hand, the voice of Religious Zionism is not to be heard, except for Minister Uri Ariel and MK [Betzalel] Smotrich, and it is clear that this is the case since, unlike our haredi brothers, we don’t really have the legitimacy to touch the political monopoly which serves as the exclusive lot of the haredim.

In the case of the evacuation of communities, or even when there is a fear of the evacuation of a number of houses, or alternatively, there is a political uproar over the issue of the freeze in Jerusalem, as happened recently - we hear a vociferous Religious Zionist constituency in its full glory.

The equation is clear to all - our voice will be heard loud and clear on matters of settlement and construction, but when it comes to dealing with religious matters such as the Western Wall Plan, the Conversion Law, the Shabbat Law, and so on, “he who will preserve is political and coalitional soul will be far away.”

Time and time again, we see how Religious Zionism pulls its hands away from any preoccupation with the religious aspects, and at the most provides quiet backing for any decision that is important to the haredi parties. This is in order to preserve at all costs the wonderful unity of interests in the face of the constantly growing strength of the Yesh Atid party and the option of a left-wing government always hovering in the air - unlike our haredi brethren, whose political power is greater than ours due to the fact that they seem to have no problem sitting in any coalition.

In practice, this is an entirely inaccurate assumption - from my close acquaintance with the heads of the haredi factions in the Jerusalem City Council and in the national political arena, I will tell you that the severe post-trauma that accompanies them from the brief “brothers’ pact [between Lapid and Bennett]” period is still vivid and powerful.

By the way, the last and perhaps only time in recent years that we have taken upon ourselves the role of "gatekeeper" when it comes to matters of religion and state was actually during that brothers’ pact, when the haredim were in the opposition and when Rabbi Ben-Dahan effectively served as Minister of Religious Affairs. Then most of the attempts at civil legislation were repulsed or clipped and passed feebly, such as the Conversion Law, which in the end was partially passed on the basis of advice from governmental deciders.

So why over and over again in matters of religion is our voice is almost unheard? Where does the basic assumption come from that these are two separate areas? That on the one hand there is the Land of Israel, and on the other hand, the Conversion Law or the Western Wall Plan that are not our concern? On the one hand, there are security issues in which we thrive, and on the other hand, the halakhic and religious issues that ostensibly are not our responsibility.

I assume that ministers and MKs who showed up last month in the protest tent of the Beit El Council understand clearly that the struggle for the Land of Israel is taking place through the preservation of our religious and Jewish identity in Israel.

There are countless sources that remind us well how to establish our right to the land and how we need to act in it and for what purpose we returned to the land of our ancestors after 2000 years of exile. Certainly not to pull our hands away from burning issues such as the Western Wall Plan, the Conversion Law, or attempts by Reform elements to change the halackic status quo in the holiest place for the Jewish people.

If you ask the heads of the historical National Religious Party that resigned from the government and even brought new elections because of the issue of bringing F-16s to Israel on Shabbat, they would certainly provide a clear and determined answer.

The writer is the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and a representative of 'Jewish Home - National Union' in the city council.




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