Orit Struk
Orit StrukFlash 90

Orit Struk's biography contains her one term as a Member of Israel's 19th Knesset (2013-2015), a term cut short by the government's dissolving at the end of two years. However, anyone who knows what transpires backstage in the Knesset, where the real work is done, remembers that she was known as "the 121st MK" (there are only 120) for years before her election to that body, and knows that even after her term was cut short, she did not stop her public service mission for a moment.

At the end of those two years, during which she proved to be in possession of superb parliamentary skills, she accepted the role of manager of the pro-Land of Israel Caucus and continued pulling strings and exerting significant influence – perhaps not less than when she had a seat in the Knesset plenum. She was deeply involved behind the scenes in the battles for Netiv Haaavot and Amona, in passing the Regulation Law, the campaign for sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, the struggle to normalize young settlements, in addition to the efforts to change the makeup of the Supreme Court and to control judicial activism.

Most former MKs prefer to stay away from the exclusive Knesset Members club once their membership card has expired. It is easy enough to find former NKs who want very much to be reelected to the Knesset, but it is nearly impossible to find any who are willing to work and try to have influence within its walls without the coveted title of MK and the perks that come with it. It takes a great deal of true humility to return as an ordinary citizen to the place where you were once an elected persona.

But Orit Struk is a true representative of the people, oblivious to honor and privilege, attempting only to exert her influence in order to bring about better results. She does not need a spacious office to work in the Knesset, and has no problem taking the bus from her home in Hevron to Jerusalem now that she has no official car. Her work, dealing with with MKs and Ministers of every faction and correspondents from a widespread selection of media outlets. is accomplished without fanfare and has had more results than that of many a bright and hardworking MK.

Orit has a deep understanding of politics and of how a government works, of political processes down to the minutest details, knows how to suggest ideas and actions that change reality. Her practical down to earth approach allows her to bridge gaps and create alliances. During her time in the Knesset she worked, among other things, to reach an agreed-upon stand that could unite all the shades of opinion on issues of religion and state in the Jewish Home party in which she was then a member, one that was approved of by leading religious Zionist rabbinic figures.

Often, in order to succeed in a plan, Orit lets politicians in on the details, knowing that if they are going to get sole credit for whatever plans she has in mind, they will be much more willing to move ahead and implement them. That is how, many of the terrorists freed in the Schalit Deal were imprisoned again after the kidnap-murder of the three Gush Etzion teenagers. Few people knew that it was Orit who had come up with the idea of punishing Hamas in that way. Many of her achievemets have an MK's name attached to them.

Struk is an excellent speaker and writer and her appearances in the media are polished and convincing. The only factor keeping her from being a more conspicuous politician is her lack of personal ambition. She doesn't like to promote herself. Whie other public figures, new and seasoned, expend much time and resources to gain support for themselves personally, Struk is busy garnering support for the interests of the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and the Land of Israel. And it is just that lack of pursuing honor for herself that causes her to be the most worthy of the candidates running for Knesset seats.

Two years ago, she came in third place in the National Union internal elections, meaning that she could have demanded second place on the Zionist Union party list now that Netanyahu gave the second place winner a secure Likud seat, but Struk did not ask for anything and allowed the party's head, Betzalel Smotrich, a free hand in formulating a candidate list that expresses the varied shades of religious Zionist voters because she felt it would draw voters.

There are many significant and weighty reasons to want the Religious Zionist party to do well in the upcoming elections, not the least of them the need to ensure the continuation of a truly Religious Zionist party and the fact that without them, there is no way to have the 61 Members of Knesset necessary for creating a right wing government. Struk's 5th place on the Religious Zionist is another reason to hope the Religious Zionist party gains way over the 4 seats it needs to reach the Knesset election threshold.

Emmanuel Shilo is editor in chief of the Besheva Hebrew weekly newspaper. This article was a Besheva editorial and is translated with permission by Rochel Sylvetsky.