Rabbi Yigal Kaminetzky, one of the champions of the call for the unification of religious Zionist parties, explains to Arutz Sheva the significance of his initiative.
The call for unity, explains Rabbi Kaminetzky, begins with four specific parties: Jewish Home, religious Zionism, Noam and Otzma Yehudit. "Bennett, in my humble opinion, does not belong here. He himself declared that issues of religion and state are of no interest to him, and called on people to violate Shabbat to watch his interview. I am not just talking about religious Zionism but about a genuine Jewish state, something bigger than any one party.”
Rabbi Kaminetzky adds that the issue of Jewish identity is the most significant and disturbing issue, "and we want to bring Judaism back to the state."
Rabbi Kaminetzky says of MK Bennett that " Judaism does not interest him. It may be interesting, but it is not part of what he says or what he claims. We are bothered by everything that happens to the Jewish image of the state, the flouting of Shabbat, ignorance of Jewish identity, the destruction of the Jewish family. I want to say that it bothers not only me but the general public. " Rabbi Kaminetzky mentions the words of Gali Bat Horin, who heads the Shapira Coffee Forum.
Bat Horin's remarks show that the issue of Jewish identity is not the domain of religious Zionism but the domain of the general public, and Rabbi Kaminetzky quotes: "As a strictly secular Israeli, the order of business is to be one party devoting its time to one thing, fighting day and night almost only for Israel's right to be a Jewish state, with a Jewish character," adds Rabbi Kaminetzky, recalling Bat Horin's remarks about the need to strengthen the Jewish hold on the land, in the struggle against the attempt to make Israel a "state of all its citizens" and in the struggle for the right of Jews to live in the land. Bat Horin also wants to see a religious Zionist party win a significant number of seats in the Knesset.
Rabbi Kaminetzky addressed concerns that he is closer to Itamar Ben Gvir’s party line than Matan Kahane’s, saying that "Matan Kahana as an individual may agree with me but his party as a party does not.. We want a party that unequivocally announces that it will not join unless all these injustices are rectified, unless we fight the tyranny and dictatorship of the Supreme Court."
On the claim that his activities for the unification of the parties are carried out on behalf of the rabbis of the Noam party, Rabbi Kaminecki says that things are attributed to him that are not true. "It is true that I supported Noam once because it was the only party that strongly asserted its Jewish identity. I have worked in a number of frameworks and deal with these issues in multiple different ways.”
“I have received hundreds and thousands of messages of support for this initiative from Rabbis, public figures, and youth who yearn for this union and connection. This is the time to not only unite ourselves but become a beacon for all the people of Israel," says Rabbi Kaminetzky.
"Our youth is of great importance. They are confused and misinformed, and we are unable to unite them. When we unite ourselves, it will be a call for Israeli youth, and the general public as well," says Rabbi Kaminetzky. When asked if unity should not include Naftali Bennett's Yamina, he replied “Yamina is not willing to fly the flag of Jewish identity, and its leaders do not make it their top priority. If they change their ways and choose to return to these values, then the door is open to them as well.”
In his remarks, Rabbi Kaminetzky emphasizes that he himself does not belong to any of the parties in which he calls for unification. He sees himself as distanced from Otzma Yehudit and and despite the claims to the contrary believes the controversies should be put aside. "We have built a wonderful country. We need to put the spirit in it."
Rabbi Kaminetzky says that the challenge for politicians in heeding this call for unity is that politicians must understand their role as public servants, and if the public is interested in doing so they must work to achieve this unified front instead of pursuing individual agendas.