Rabbi Zalman Melamed
Rabbi Zalman Melamed Israel news photo: Shlomi Shalmoni

Voters who are searching for a Religious Zionist political alternative need not fear - Jewish Home fulfills that role, according to Rabbi Zalman Melamed, the head of the Beit El Yeshiva.

Despite rumors to the contrary, he told students at the Yeshiva Thursday, Jewish Home cleared its political stance on matters affecting state and personal status issues with senior rabbis in the Religious Zionist community, including himself.

“I was involved in these matters and I know for a fact that all laws affecting religious issues were discussed by the rabbis,” he said. “There were a number of issues the rabbis were not in favor of, and Jewish Home eliminated or changed them.”

Of the two biggest “hot potato” topics of the past year - the law to draft haredi yeshiva students and the law on converts - Rabbi Melamed said that things had worked out fine.

“No haredi students are being drafted by force today, they are not making anyone leave yeshiva if they don't want to. It should be noted that many haredi community leaders and rabbis are very happy with the law, even if they will not say so themselves, based on the results so far.”

Regarding the law on conversions, said Rabbi Melamed, Jewish Home did the best that it could under the circumstances. The law, which is still under legislation, may not be perfect, but it can be vetoed and sent back to the committee if needed. Even in its current form, the rabbi said, the law contained many caveats, to the extent that the rabbis still had a great deal of sway in who gets converted.

Unity, he said, was the best way to ensure a strong Religious Zionist influence and impact on the next government. “I pray that all the religious parties will work together and unify. If they, including the haredi parties, do so, we would have the biggest party in the Knesset, and we could even demand the Prime Ministership. Why don't we do this? Are we afraid of the job?”