Shaked and Bennett
Shaked and Bennett Flash 90

Closed discussions in the New Right campaign have in recent days already produced the first demand to be raised in the coalition negotiations to take place after the elections - the Religious Affairs Ministry portfolio.

Bennett and Shaked's advisors explain that the intention behind the move is to implement a policy of inclusive Judaism in the spirit of the New Right, with the aim of changing the attitude of the Israeli public towards the rabbinate.

"The goal is for religious Zionism to be the face of the rabbinate and religious institutions in Israel. To come from a friendly place of solutions and consent, not coercion," Bennett and Shaked say in closed conversation.

Moves that are being talked about in this regard include appointing a religious Zionist Chief Rabbi, reforming the kashrut system, appointing religious Zionist city rabbis, promoting dayanim from the sector, friendlier conversion by city rabbis, and more.

In the context of appointing a Religious Affairs Minister, the intention is to bring to the post a non-political party, perhaps someone from the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization. "We abandoned the arena to the haredim, a religious Zionist Chief Rabbi would add to the unity of the people," they explain.

The demand in in consonance with Bennett and Shaked's central strategic pillar, to bring in votes from people who favor Judaism and tradition but who oppose what they consider coercion.

The Religious Affairs Ministry, currently held by Shas and traditionally held by the haredi parties, is not considered a particularly high-profile portfolio but one that has a significant impact on one of the most controversial issues in Israel, religion and state.

Bennett was already Religious Affairs Minister in his first term, in parallel with the Economics and Diaspora ministries, but he feels he did not maximize his impact, for example on the issue of appointing a Chief Rabbi from religious Zionism and not haredi.