Where exactly does Yamina stand on Judaism issues?

Take a look at the facts before accusing the religious Zionist parties of ignoring Judaism.

Haim Lev ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

And here's one of the better kept secrets of Israeli politics: If you repeat a lie enough times, it eventually becomes plain fact. And on election night, it takes on a life of its own.

A classic example that comes to mind is the attack on the Yamina party's approach to matters of religion and state. When it comes to roasting someone, Defense Minister and Yamina head Naftali Bennett has been "warming up" on the grill of the haredi barbecue for some time now.

But let's take a look at the facts – the bare facts. As Minister of Education, Bennett increased the yeshiva budget by 112% (!); the Jewish culture budget went up by 76%. Bennett's budget for religious associations soared to NIS 190 million. But these are not Bennett's words – it's what Calcalist journalist Shahar Ilan attests to in data he collected upon Bennett's departure from the Ministry of Education.

In a study conducted by Haaretz journalist Or Kashti a few years ago, he describes how the Torah Division of the Ministry of Education provided support under the "Torah clause" to many Jewish initiatives. "It is difficult to compete with such an established support system," Kashti quoted government officials.

Remember the "incitement" campaign in which the left accused religious leaders of forcing religion on the rest Israeli society? Whom was it aimed at? Health Minister Yakov Litzman? Interior Minister Aryeh Deri? It was directed solely at a politician who was able to turn the traditional steering wheel away from the path of detachment, alienation and 'abandonment' in order to deepen tradition in state schools, then-Education Minister Bennett.

Try asking the Secular Forum administration which MK succeeded in bringing about a Jewish revolution in Israel's textbooks? Who's responsible for teaching Tel-Aviv schoolchildren to say the "Shema?" Stories about Moses or the prophets of Israel?

Which is of course just the tip of the iceberg. Naftali Bennett, as co-leader of carving out Israel's agenda, fought alongside former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked for the preservation of the status quo on all issues critical to the Jewish character of the state. Naturally, Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, is also working tirelessly to preserve the Jewish tradition in Israel's state schools as he continues his path in the Ministry of Education.

The daily news bulletins in which Yamina is presented in a negative light are indicative of its accomplishments. At least in Rabbi Peretz's case, the better-known ones speak for themselves.

What about one of the newest stars of Yamina - Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich? Some facts about him: Smotrich has led the fight to minimize public transportation on Shabbat (Sabbath). While haredi MKs are up in arms over issues concerning their support base, he's doing quiet work on the ground, stating empirical facts and ensuring that the status quo remains at the front of the Israeli agenda.

One of the main goals set by MK Smotrich as he entered the political system was to preserve Israel's Jewish character. He did so as a regular member of the Knesset Finance Committee and other committees on which he served and continues doing so more vigorously as a serving Knesset minister.

Every religious Jew in the State of Israel should consider these facts and this Monday, as you stand behind the election booth curtain, ponder whom you'd prefer to see leading Israel: those accustomed to screaming, criticizing and mocking, or those leading the fight to preserving the state's Jewish character?



top