Rav Moshe Tzvi Neria a”h was the religious Zionist community’s educational father in Israel. He founded the successful and growing Bnei Akiva movement of religious Zionist elementary and high schools, known as Yeshivot and Ulpanot Bnei Akiva. He was also one of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook’s most prominent disciples, and for many years led the prayers in Rav Kook’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
One of the many gifts from Rav Neria that we will cherish for years is his beautiful tune for two stanzas in the prayer of “Vichol Maaminim”, “And all who believe”. The stanza in the prayer reads "All who believe He is the only One who appoints kings, and that the true monarchy is truly His,” and Rav Neria taught Mercaz Harav Yeshiva to chant those lines to the tune of Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem.
This tune was sung once again in hundreds of high schools, yeshivas and seminaries on Rosh Hashanah all over Israel. Hundreds of thousands of religious Zionist youths sing and pray that Hashem will install the correct world leaders, prime ministers, and presidents to make the world a better place where Hashem’s glory will become more apparent.
When I was a new student in Bet El Yeshiva and I heard this tune being sung for the first time by over 400 people, I was excited and in awe. I can remember thinking of the elections in Israel, the US, and different countries all over the world, and how Hashem, the source of all authority and power, would decide on Rosh Hashanah who will lead.
In 1947 our people’s exile ended, and with Hashem’s blessing, for the first time in close to 2000 years we were able to appoint our own leaders. Jews everywhere rejoiced and danced for the great gift from the Almighty to be in our eternal and rightful homeland once again. Since then, Religious Zionists have been able to select ideological policymakers who help continue to revitalize the modern miracle that is Israel and resurgence of the Jewish people.
After Israel’s last election, parties which had posed as right wing and centrist parties despite promises to the contrary, chose to form a government with Arab parties who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State. The Religious Zionist party strongly opposed this move and accordingly, chose not to join the coalition led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. Israel’s last government transferred billions of shekels to the most extreme organizations on the Arab/ Palestinian side of the conflict. Israel’s police and army was further weakened, settling of Judea and Samaria virtually stopped, there was a further loss of Israeli sovereignty in the Negev and Galilee, illegal Bedouin homes were connected to electricity while young families in Judea and Samaria were not, while there was capitulation on the Iran deal. In addition, non- Jewish immigration into the country increased and the status quo on religion in the public space, which had been stable in Israel for more than 70 years, fractured.
In this election, as English speaking Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) and descendants of Olim, we must reclaim the country we dreamt about, the country we left everything for, and vote to ensure its future as a Jewish and Zionist state which respects its traditions. This is not New York, London, Miami, Sydney or Johannesburg where the discussion is only about economic and social issues. Israel is the country our grandparents and great- grandparents dreamt about and it is ours. This is our land, country and home and we must stand up for what we believe in. We have a duty to support the election of a party whose ideology will further our vision for Israel and whose candidates we can trust because they have a record of keeping their election promises, whose candidates are known for fighting for judicial reform, Jewish values, Jewish Aliyah, respect for the army and police, settlement of Judea and Samaria, the removal of unnecessary red tape and fixing government corruption.
May we, and our Jewish brothers and sisters everywhere around the world be blessed with a sweet and happy year, good health, success, safety, and the wisdom to make the right choices.
Benjamin Sipznermanaged the Anglo division for the Religious Zionist Party in the last election, is an Oleh from New York, and recently completed his service as a lone soldier in the Nachal Brigade of the IDF. He recently married and is learning in the Bet El Yeshiva. He can be found on Facebook and can be reached at email@example.com.