In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Former Knesset Member Tzvi Hendel, one of the leaders of the NRP and the former Deputy Minister of Education, sharply attacked the recent statements of Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster (Blue and White) about the need to restrict births in Israel.
"Throughout all governments, we have had bitter political, religious and state struggles with the left and we have not apologized for that," Hendel said.
In his remarks, Hendel notes, "Left-wing figures such as Shulamit Aloni, Uri Avnery, Ran Cohen and the late Yossi Sarid have had radical leftist agendas perhaps even more than today, as many did before the Oslo Accords, Gush Katif, and even during the first Intifada. However, in recent years, the discourse on the part of the left has gone from feminism to secularism to blatant anti-Zionism."
"Today a war is waged over all the values that were once taken for granted. The distance from any Zionist value grows steadily, as we have seen in the unfortunate statements of leftists in favor of a criminal investigation by statesmen and military personnel in the International Court of Justice," Hendel says.
"In our time, the whole issue of aggressive intervention by European governments and Christian and progressive foundations in Israeli society did not exist, and even if present, it was certainly not in the formidable intensities we experience today, in all aspects of Israeli society."
"Is it conceivable that the Israeli government would have intervened in the ongoing conflict in Catalonia or in the re-education of the Chinese? We are witnessing a war of consciousness that has undermined the Jewish democratic foundations of the State of Israel in order to become a people like all other peoples, despite the significantly decreasing numerical power of the other side," states Hendel.
"The vast majority of the world intuitively understands that every people has a right to exist on its own, understands what a family is and does not connect that to politics. Identities. I think keeping our tradition is not darkness, it is light."
"I appreciated Donald Trump's conduct for despising the politically correct notion that it is appropriate to rebuke people who hold traditional or conservative worldviews," Hendel says. "Throughout history, great and powerful forces from those elements have tried to erase the national and Jewish power of the State of Israel. The same attempts to undermine the values of tradition and family and the introduction of secular ideas in order to weaken the national and spiritual resilience of the State of Israel will not succeed."
"Throughout the years, the NRP represented the broad mosaic of the national religious sector, from the late Yosef Burg to the late Hanan Porat. There were also disagreements in the NRP, as there are incidentals between Degel HaTorah and United Torah Judaism. We all cooperate despite the disagreements and know how to work together. I am sorry that the potential powerhouse of an agreement with Jewish Home didn't succeed, but must now support the Religious Zionism party list and values.
During the interview, Hendel sought to add that "it must not be forgotten that one of the most central values of the NRP over the decades was the preservation of the Jewish character of the State of Israel and its commitment to the values of religious Zionism and Judaism. Unfortunately, in the last decade, we have almost completely abandoned the issue of Jewish identity in favor of the radical left and the religious demands for the Haredi parties. It is important to remember that for decades we have been part of the central discourse on religion and state, as we bring to the Knesset an important religious voice. It may sound absurd today, but for many years the Religious Zionist Party held the keys to the Ministry of Religion. "
During the interview, Hendel cited a number of examples of NRP ministers who headed the ministry, "Yosef Burg, Zerach Verhaftig, Yigal Bibi as deputy minister, Rabbi Yitzchak Levy, Zevulun Hamer, Avner Shaki, Yitzhak Rafael, and more."
"On the other hand, in recent years, with the exception of a brief episode of Rabbi Ben Dahan as deputy minister, the Ministry of Religions has remained under the complete control of the Haredi parties, with religious Zionist parties not even considering claiming the office. "It's in the party's lexicon, but it sounds like an unrealizable distant dream," Hendel said.