We’ve Shot Ourselves in the Foot- Again

The Religious Zionists have to learn to open the ranks or the left will win.

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch

OpEds Aryeh Hirsch
Aryeh Hirsch

In 1998, the Kipa Sruga (knitted-skullcap, term denoting Religious Zionists, ed.) community was up in arms against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He had honored the dishonorable Hevron Agreement of the Rabin-Peres government, and pulled out of  Hevron, despite ample reasons not to follow an agreement already broken numerous times by the PLO-PA. Then PM Netanyahu had gone to the Wye Plantation talks, and offered to retreat from more territory in the "West Bank". This was the Mafdal (Religious Zionist predecessor of Jewish Home party)’s last straw. The party decided to bring down the government.

I attended a meeting in the Synagogue in Beit El Aleph. There, Rabbi Benny Alon (may he have a Refua Shleima), MK and Minister of Tourism, presented the plan to us common citizens: bring down the government, and we’ll elect a more Right-wing Knesset in its place.

We only have one Right foot, but we’ve managed to shoot it up again.
I turned to two fellows, prominent hosts on Arutz 7, and asked them: “You guys got any polls showing that you can elect a more Right-wing government?”

The answer was in the negative; but they felt that it was irrelevant.

Whom did we get in place of Bibi? Ten years of from bad, to worse: Ehud Barak, then Ariel Sharon/Disengagement, then Ehud Olmert. Worse, we obviously made PM Netanyahu into an enemy. From his treatment of Moshe Feiglin (one of the few residents of Judea and Samaria in the Likud list) in 2008 and then 2013, to his leaning on the support of  center-leftists like Ron Lauder, it is clear that Bibi is no friend of the citizens of Judea and Samaria.

And we have only ourselves to blame. That’s shot number one, in the Right foot.

We only have one Right foot, but we’ve managed to shoot it up again. Polls show that we risk getting a Leftist, Disengaging government in the election upcoming in ten days. Again, we can only blame ourselves:

Six weeks ago, Naftali Bennett, MK leader of the Jewish Home Party, made a move calculated to bring him votes. Knowing the popularity of sports figures, he put Eli Ohana, former Israeli soccer great, in the number nine slot to be a member of Knesset. This was done for one reason: Bennett wants to win, and this was how to do it. Bennett wanted votes, and to get them he needed them from the Left and Center, and from Sephardim. Brilliant.

However, brilliant only if one wants to win. A landslide of protests from his party made Bennett back down. The complaints: Ohana is not religious (although he is Sephardi traditional); Ohana’s popularity is from desecration of Shabbat which is when soccer games are played in Israel; such a person does not represent me. All this was heard.

Due to it, we now see the distinct possibility that the Left can win.

When I first applied to live in Beit El, my wife and I had to pass a “Va’ad Kabalah”, selection committee. On that committee sat Rabbi Avraham Remer, one of the founders of Beit El, and for whom its main Synagogue, Avraham Ohavi, is named. This lover of all Jews told me that he felt the Va’ad Kabalah was a historical mistake of massive proportions, and that he was working to abolish it. The Selection Committee, in its elitism and separatism, had left the population of the “West Bank" Jewish communities with much too small a population. A larger population would have made it much harder, or even impossible, to consider evicting us Jews from our homeland and homes. Months later, Rabbi Remer passed away; but he had gotten rid of the Va’ad Kabalah.

Im navar titabar; im ikeish titamam(Samuel II,chap.22;v.27). "With a straight, honest man, act straight; but act shrewdly with the devious”. Politics is dirty, and certainly no Yeshiva. Ohana was not being chosen to run a Yeshiva; he was chosen to win at a game, something he knows well. And what an opportunity was lost; imagine Ohana, Minister of Sport, following the direction of the Rabbinic leaders of Jewish Home (Rabbis Melamed, Druckman, Rabinowitz, Drori, etc.) to lobby for soccer games on Friday noon and Saturday night (eliminating Sabbath desecration).

Rabbi Kook, in his book Midbar Shur(chapter 29), notes how Jacob must sometimes clothe himself in the coarse garments of Esau, and make use of raw physical power in order to act and rule  (see my Toldot: Mother Rivka’s Call to Arms; Dec.1, 2005). This is another reason  we wear costumes on Purim: we too can, reluctantly, make use of Esau-Amalek physical traits, donning them as necessary, and removing them after battle, to return to our natural, pure Jacob-state.

ולקחת את כסף הכפורים- "And take the atonement money" (Shmot 30;16). This money was used to symbolically show to every Jew who came to the Sanctuary/Temple, the equality of every Jew. The Lubavitcher Rebbe: the coin comes from crass metal, the lowest of the physical elements of this world. The Lord, in telling Moses to command every person in Israel to bring a coin, showed him a coin of fire,saying: “They should bring a coin like this” (Rashi, verse 13). The Rebbe: “G-d taught that the coarse and unrefined is not necessarily the antithesis of the most holy and pure. The physical does not naturally repel the spiritual, rather they can work in harmony, until they reach absolute unity. Even a coarse human being can serve the Divine with the most noble of services”.

One can only hope , that at this critical hour, we haven’t delivered a fatal shot to our hopes of Redemption, speedily in our days.