I wish I could endorse New Right

I see no other leadership that understands power and what to do with it once it is in your hands besides Meretz and the New Right. Opinion.

Mordechai Sones,

Shaked and Bennett campaign for New Right
Shaked and Bennett campaign for New Right
Flash 90

My perch frequently brings me the words of Israeli politicians to weigh and translate. This has exposed patterns that are generally good indicators of what a given politician will say and the quality and depth of their remarks on a wide range of possible issues.

I was glad when Betzalel Smotrich, Naftali Bennett, and Ayelet Shaked worked as a unified force. It didn't at all remind me of the limp Mafdal days when statesmanship consisted of warm-feeling folk-inertia and bendable principles. All three of them, but especially Shaked, demonstrate time and again a surprising and refreshing understanding of the mechanisms of government and the levers that one needs to touch in order to affect and rectify huge swathes of administrative power that directly impact our lives. Not only that, they are creative and imaginative and capable of matching punch-for-punch the characteristically excellent and unembarrassed Leftist propaganda. And I see this creativity in their legislative initiatives as well. They got good things done, no question.

Now there is a hard choice. I came to like Smotrich more and more as time went on and I believe it fitting that he head the National Union. He's the closest thing we have to an Israeli political Ben Shapiro in the Knesset. He isn't accompanied by that Mafdal Galut mentality odor that wouldn't dare think of supplanting the big experts in the Likud or do anything so self-assured as advancing a prime ministerial candidate of their own. Smotrich is of the New Generation of religious Zionists that knows not glass ceilings. MK Motti Yogev is no pushover either. We want a strong Jewish Home Party. We want Orit Struck in the Knesset. We want Betzalel Smotrich to have comfortable maneuvering room. I wonder if the party they're left with will revert to the political cretinism of the 1980's. Rabbi Rafi Peretz with his super-statist obsequiousness may seek to align himself with Netanyahu no matter what atrocity the Prime Minister commits against Peretz' voter base, and force the others to go with him.

I like Otzma Yehudit's principles and willingness to state simple truths like "Israel's enemies shouldn't be allowed to run for the Israeli Knesset." They can be counted on not to squish when the pressure is on. They represent loyalty to principle and not loyalty to power. But statesmen they are not. They still seem to lack the ability - or is it desire? - to reach beyond their hard core of supporters who aren't conflicted about the movement's rustic communication style. How did Rabbi Kahane put it? "There are smart Arabs and there are stupid Arabs... The stupid Arabs say what they think..."

Then there's the New Right. I had a conversation with a senior religious Zionist leader after the split. I was unhappy Bennett and Shaked did that. This leader then said to me, "What were they supposed to do, stay attached to that ball-and-chain Jewish Home Party forever?" To this leader Smotrich and Yogev aren't enough of a reason to stick around the Rightist union.

I also wish to be loyal to the directive of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who said to support the "most haredi" party available. Loyalty in this case means discerning the Rebbe's intention, knowing he outright rejected land compromise in exchange for yeshiva budgets, and directed the only Chabad Knesset Member Eliezer Mizrachi to topple the government in the course of the Twelfth Knesset, breaking away from Agudat Yisrael and forming the Geulat Yisrael Party.

Most Lubavitchers I know interpret the Rebbe's instruction to mean either Aguda or Baruch Marzel, who today is an Otzma official but not running for a Knesset seat. Otzma is subsumed within the Rightist Union of convenience that Chairman Smotrich said will disintegrate after the elections.

Is the New Right actually the most haredi thing out there? They are friendly to haredi agendas without the stigma of being haredi politicians, who are in an unenviable position, purporting to represent the highest morality and yet doing the things they need to do just to keep the store open.

I see no other party with the vision, inclination, or capacity to bring about the changes that would benefit the haredim the most, like rectifying the Judiciary. I see no other party that resembles a true movement other than the New Right. I see no other leadership that understands power and what to do with it once it is in your hands besides Meretz and the New Right. Superficially one might assign Otzma as the antithesis of Meretz, conditioned as we are to view the world in terms of "extremists on both sides". But I believe Meretz is more effective than Otzma in terms of vision, ambition, and cleverness while they meet their match in the New Right.

However, there are Bennett's gender disorientation activities in the Education Ministry. And Shuli Moalem-Refaeli's anti-family bills. They make endorsing New Right feel like staring at a political chocolate éclair in the window, knowing it would be very bad for me. Maybe there's still something they could say that would convince me, show me they understand the error of their ways. I will certainly be asking them. But the disgusting truth is that I'm sure if polls reflected more votes for such a display of contriteness, it would be forthcoming. Makes me pine back to Otzma.

Does this photograph make you want to vote a certain way?
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