Diaspora Blues

(Published today on Israelnationalnews,com)

     American Jews have every right to complain about, lament, oppose and even support the policies of the Israeli government. What happens here affects Jews in the Diaspora and for many American Jews, their whole Jewish identity is subsumed by the Jewish state. Threats to divorce the State of Israel are heartfelt but hollow because, shorn of Torah and mitzvot, Israel remains for many their only link to Jewishness. Their right to attempt to influence policy is assumed, as is the right of Israelis to consider what they have to say or to ignore it because we are a sovereign country that makes its own decisions.

     That being said, the jeremiads that are gushing forth from American Jewish leaders are a bit overboard – whether about Binyamin Netanyahu’s return to power, Itamar Ben Gvir’s ministerial role, or various legislation being considered to order to preserve and strengthen Israel’s security and Jewish identity. And these Diaspora complaints must be put in perspective.

    It is undoubtedly true that most American Jewish leaders – those of the alphabet organizations that are somewhat redundant, whose missions overlap, who are mostly unelected and represent a small fragment of American Jewry – did not want Netanyahu to prevail and again become prime minister. Having failed to prevent his election, they are now trying to convince the public – and influence the Biden administration – that the only way Netanyahu and Israel should retain their support is if he rejects the will of the Israeli electorate and forms a left-wing government. And if Netanyahu forms a right-wing government as he has promised to do then these leaders (and add to that a few tendentious American Jewish journalists whose support of Israel is always contingent on policies that will weaken Israel both militarily and spiritually) are demanding that he not enact policies that are the natural focus of any right-wing government, especially one comprised of a majority of Sabbath-observing, religious Jews.

      In other words, they didn’t want Netanyahu. Now that they have him, they are seeking that he govern in exactly the opposite manner from which he has pledged to govern. From their perspective, he should fill his government with centrist and leftist retreads and just occupy his seat until a more left-wing government to their liking takes power in the future. When the left is in power, they are charged with diluting Israel’s Jewish character, impairing its security and territorial integrity, and pursuing the two-state illusion. When the right is in power, they should just be place keepers until the left returns.

     There is something wrong with that picture, especially since it utterly disregards the will of the people of Israel.

     Thus, American Jewish leaders are aggrieved that Ben Gvir may have a senior role in the government, even as Minister of Internal Security. G-d forbid that serenity should return to our streets and highways, with wrongdoers – ranging from stone throwers to snipers – punished mercilessly. G-d forbid that illegal Arab building should be stopped everywhere and that real Jewish sovereignty return to the Negev and Galil. G-d forbid that a Jewish-centered curriculum – involving familiarity with the Bible and Jewish life – be restored to the Israeli secular educational system whose students are largely being educated without any knowledge of their heritage and patrimony, Judaism. G-d forbid that laws be passed limiting the Knesset oversight of the undisciplined Supreme Court and repealing the “grandfather clause” of the Law of Return that allows third generation Gentiles to acquire automatic citizenship in the Jewish state. The latter insanity has engendered demands for mass conversions and public Shabbat desecration in commerce and transportation to accommodate this population. Here is a suggestion: repeal that clause and require that all third-generation offspring of Jews who wish to make Aliyah first convert according to halacha in their country of origin.

     These leaders and their media acolytes have joined the chorus that a Netanyahu right-wing government is a “threat to democracy.” If they possessed even a modicum of self-awareness they would realize that the greatest threat to democracy is ignoring the will of the voters and turning elections into a farce.

      For sure, a left-wing government – Jewish in name but not practice or values – plays better in America. American college campuses are rife with anti-Israel activism where supporters of Israel are routinely harassed and threatened without consequence. Many American Jews are convinced that peace will follow the two-state illusion like night follows day and are uneasy with governments who perceive that process as a dangerous delusion. And American Jews are concentrated in states (New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois) where progressivism rules the roost and dominates the media and culture. A proudly Jewish, nationalist Israel is a tough sell in that market. But we need not subvert our democracy – nor should we destroy this wondrous opportunity to build a sovereign Jewish state in the land G-d granted to our forefathers – just because American Jews have largely lost touch with their heritage, are drowning in a sea of intermarriage and assimilation, and are worried about what the Democrats and the New York Times will say. They will always be more comfortable with leftist governments; that the vast majority of Israelis are on the center-right, and traditional or religious, inconveniences and perplexes them.

     Invariably, these leaders and a handful of their followers will wail, briefly, and then continue to weigh in on Israel’s policies that run counter to their agenda. I have been reading and hearing of the breakdown of relations between Israel and the exile since the 1970’s whenever a right-wing government takes power or introduces some Torah-themed legislation. This elegy has had a long and distinguished run and is still going strong. But strengthening Israel’s Jewish character can only benefit Diaspora Jews; even those now distant from Torah may deduce that they have gone too far and that, at a certain point, their Jewish identity does wither and die. Some won’t care but I think most will care and want to reconnect to their heritage and birthright in a meaningful Torah way, and not just in an ethnic way. In that regard, only a proudly Jewish and nationalist Israel can be a beacon for Diaspora Jews, not an Israel which only humors its ethnic Jewish culture but does little to encourage Torah observance.

     There is one matter that should be rectified. American Jewish leaders usually only meet with Israeli politicians or with groups whose agendas parallel their own. They have little knowledge of the lives of Israelis, most of whom love and/or respect the traditions of their ancestors – and even those who are not completely observant. Ensconced in their luxury hotels during their brief visits, they have little knowledge of the pride Jews here take in their Judaism and what plucky little Israel has accomplished in its seventy-five years of existence. They should meet real Israelis, notwithstanding that Israelis will be shocked to learn that most marriages involving American Jews today are intermarriages (surely including some of these leaders or their children). They should meet real Israelis, and they will learn that a truly Jewish state  is not only possible and within our grasp, it is almost here, and needs just the tweaking and nurturing that this electorate expects and for which it voted.

      We should listen to the Diaspora voices respectfully but theirs is not the last word on Israeli statecraft, governance, or policies, not least because they did not want the right-wing and religious parties to win. Actually, that last word is ours, the voters, who excitedly await the first coalition in Israel’s history that is comprised of a majority of religious Jews.

Fear of Ben Gvir

(First published yesterday at Israelnationalnews.com )

  As the media would have it, American Jews have overnight been afflicted with BenGvirPhobia, an irrational fear of newly re-elected Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir who is poised to play a prominent role in the incoming Israel government. One would think that American Jews might grapple first with real fears– of incessant attacks on Jews in the streets of American cities, rising crime, runaway inflation,  a secular society inundated by an immoral and un-Jewish culture and value system that threatens to undermine Jews’ ability to live in America and raise their children to be pious Jews, assimilation, intermarriage, and a host of other problems.

     Instead, we are informed that American Jews and many among the alphabet soup of American Jewish organizations are petrified of Ben Gvir, what he (in their mind) represents, and the mortification he might cause them in progressive circles. Undoubtedly, much of this anxiety is being drummed up by the media in order to taint the political environment and especially to pressure Binyamin Netanyahu to jettison some of his right-wing coalition partners in favor of Benny Gantz and his center-left “National Camp” party. Gantz has ruled that out but that might just be his opening ploy in negotiations. And even if some of his partners are implacable “Never Bibi’s” – like Gideon Sa’ar or Ze’ev Elkin – and would never sit under Netanyahu, that would not necessarily inhibit Gantz who could spin his move as “saving the nation from Ben Gvir.” And if the “National Camp Party” collapses as a result of this split? Well, the small Israeli political parties routinely come and go, here today and gone tomorrow, resurfacing with almost the same cast of characters under a new name and banner. The Machaneh Hamamlachti – it was a bad name anyway – might have already outlived its usefulness.

      For his part, Netanyahu has made a career of such double-dealing, campaigning on the right and forming his governments and executing his policies from the center, even left. In fact, he is a master at it, betrayed only by the vast number of enemies and “Never Bibi’s” that he has accumulated over the years. He would glibly explain that this back-stabbing maneuver of abandoning the Religious Zionist Party is unfortunately necessary to prevent America from signing a nuclear deal with Iran, or some such other excuse. It really depends on the final count, and whether or not Netanyahu can reach 61 mandates with Gantz and without Betzalel Smotrich and/or Ben Gvir, who can also be divided, representing, as they do, two separate parties.

     The good news is that all Netanyahu’s coalition partners have their eyes open and know how the game is played. The better news is that the numbers might not be there to allow this duplicity to again occur, in which case the government will be solidly right-wing plus, instead of centrist, which is another word for being pulled in opposite directions, with incoherent policies and festering problems the inevitable result.

     And what if Netanyahu has sincerely repented, changed his ways, and will first embrace his natural coalition partners, as he should and as the voters expect? Then there will be a stable right-wing government for several years (depending on the verdict in Netanyahu’s interminable trials). That right-wing government should deal forcefully and cogently with the Iran threat, undo the damage of the educational system that has been committed to obscuring the riches of Judaism from our elementary and high school pupils, repeal the Avigdor Lieberman tax hikes that were primarily intended to hurt the Haredim, crack down on Arab terror and those who foment it, reclaim Jewish sovereignty in the Negev and Galil, halt illegal Arab building there and in Area C of Judea and Samaria, expand Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria thereby immediately lowering the cost of housing, limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and pass the Override Law, further integrating Haredim into society, and most importantly of all, reverse the attempts to diminish the Jewish character of the State and the Jewish identity of its citizens, and quash the threats to Torah, the traditional Jewish family, the public observance of Shabbat, and the proper observance of Mitzvot such as Kashrut, conversion, military service, and others.

     That is a full plate for any administration.

     Above all, the new government can restore Jewish pride in the land of Israel. In that regard, the Religious Zionist party including Ben Gvir has a significant role to play. The influence on the Diaspora could be immeasurably constructive. American Jews should not fear a proud Jew or a Jewish state that is proudly Jewish. Indeed, this can assist American Jews in regaining their spiritual footing which has been wobbly for decades. There is nothing wrong – in fact, it is an unmitigated good – for American Jews to see ministers with kippot who take their Judaism seriously, who are committed to the Torah, the State, Jewish self-defense, the study of Torah and mitzvot, and whose policy prescriptions – for economics and social programs, for foreign affairs and culture – are grounded in Jewish law and values. It has happened before but it needs to be appreciated and magnified.

      That is a good thing and for American Jews it could be a wonderful thing. I don’t doubt that the more alienated a person is from Torah, the more he or she will fear Ben Gvir and the specter of a strong Jew unafraid to assert Jewish rights – and unafraid of bad press while doing it. Certainly, Ben Gvir – like all politicians, journalists, and public figures – has said things in the past that he regrets, retracts, or wishes to clarify. That is a sign of growth, not opportunism. Decent people should embrace it.

     To be sure, the Democratic Party to which most Jews belong with a passion others reserve for their religion, will be unhappy with Netanyahu, Ben Gvir, and any right-wing government. Its sole Mideast foreign policy objective is to strengthen Iran with money and a nuclear capacity while weakening Israel through the two-state illusion and sowing internal unrest (and claiming that all this is strengthening Israel and weakening Iran). These Jews, devoted to the Democratic Party, have the chance to support a strong, democratic and Jewish Israel by influencing their party to accept the demographic realities in Israel and the decisions of our electorate. They certainly should not, as the liberal and left-wing American Jewish organizations have already begun to do, urge boycotts of Israeli politicians and promise to provide cover to the Biden administration if it does so. They will only further marginalize themselves, sow a greater rift between secular American Jews and Israel, and impair even more their attachment to Judaism.

     The fear of Ben Gvir is overblown. Even thinking that one person can have such influence on Israeli politics – a media obsession here for months – is overblown. The Israeli political system remains deeply fragmented. Since 1996, the ruling party in the coalition has always fallen short of 40 seats (by contrast, from 1948-1996, every ruling party had at least 40 seats). The same is true with this election. Perhaps one way to change that dynamic is for a government…to be successful, to restore serenity and prosperity, to bolster Jewish identity, and reinforce and expand relations with neighboring Arab states. What should be discouraged is the return of those incessant demonstrations and street blockages that became a ritual during Netanyahu’s last few terms and impaired domestic tranquility and people’s quality of life. Give it a rest, man.

     And for the first time, a majority of Israel’s coalition government (assuming no additions of parties outside the right-wing bloc) will be comprised of religious and observant Jews. They will have the special privilege of serving and the solemn obligation of comporting themselves with dignity, nobility, and integrity, rising above the pettiness of politics to illuminate the polity with the wisdom of Torah. Heaven forbid that they should be perceived as out for themselves or just their constituents. Instead, they should be seen as representatives of Torah to the nation and the world. That is no small task.

     It is an astonishingly significant moment and opportunity. To be sure, the Religious Zionist Party should take the lead in that sphere, and its leaders Smotrich and Ben Gvir are well positioned to assume that role.

     There is no need to fear Ben Gvir or anyone else. As Rav Yosef Soloveitchik exhorted, one who fears God need have no other fears. If the current government, led by its religious majority, succeeds in increasing reverence for Heaven through its dedication, successes, and policies, our society will be transformed for the good.

     Let us pray for the new government’s success and well-being, for its accomplishments will benefit the people who dwell in Zion and bring glory to the Torah.

For and Against Our Own


The Religious Zionist community is aflutter, with elements of unknown size abandoning the Religious Zionist party for other political homes. Such is not that unusual, in the sense that there are many Republicans who are “never Trumpers” and many Likudniks who are “never Bibi’s.” Such an approach is conceivable, which is not to say sensible, as it elevates personality over policy. What results is what is to be expected; the election of those who policies are anathema to the feinschmekers (those of genteel tastes) but who retain what they perceive to be their moral high ground.


Similarly, there are self-identified Religious Zionists who will not this cycle, or perhaps not in any cycle, vote for the Religious Zionist party, which they find to be too religious, too Zionist, with a leadership they deem unsavory and unworthy of their votes. Oddly, some of these voters prefer secular parties – such as Benny Gantz’ Machaneh Hamamlachti – to advance their religious Zionist vision in some uncertain way. This should be unpacked, notwithstanding that it is impossible anymore to convince anyone of anything they don’t already profess.


Much of the discontent among these putative religious Zionists is an avowed distaste for some of the past statements, current policies and personalities of Betzalel Smotrich or Itamar Ben Gvir. They have been aided, and no doubt influenced, by the archeologist-activists posing as journalists who unearth utterances from decades ago, sometimes wrenched out of context, sometimes not. Apologies, explanations, personal evolution and growth, and even repentance, are of no significance. These politicians, in the eyes of some of the voters, are forever doomed. In its ugliest iteration, being picked up across the world because of its dissemination here, these Jews are dangers or embarrassments to Israel and are destroying the Jewish character of the State.


Even a little self-reflection should engender this provocative thought, which seems to escape many Israelis. The way “elite” opinion in Israel treats Smotrich and Ben Gvir is the way “elite” world opinion treats Israel. “Elite” opinion here deems them racists, bigots, and narrow-minded nationalists who believe in apartheid. “Elite” opinion across the world deems Israel racists, bigots and narrow-minded nationalists who believe in apartheid. On college campuses across America, and in social settings across Europe, Israel is depicted as a Nazi regime led by Hitlers. On Israeli television, one can find satiric depictions of Ben Gvir and his supporters as Nazis led by a Hitler.


Of course, there is no substance to any of these allegations or indictments, domestic or foreign, but at least we should realize the harm caused to us, not to mention the repugnance of the charges, when Jews level them against other Jews. Sure, I recognize that every election needs bogeymen and the political process in most democracies has long abandoned the notion of advancing a positive agenda for elections as opposed to besmirching the opponents, whoever they might be. It is still unseemly but the discontented religious Zionist voters seem to have fallen for it.


They have also succumbed to the implications of the old maxim that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Since Religious Zionist leaders are not “perfect” they must be perforce rejected, in favor of a secular, left-wing party with some observant Jews in it. Really?


Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by governments that cede land to Arabs in the Negev and Galil and refuse to exercise sovereignty over it? Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by weakening standards of Kashrut? Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by mass conversions that are akin to affixing a plumba to a chicken and calling it kosher, regardless of any other factor? Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by governments that promote public transportation and commerce on Shabbat? Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by a government that endorses carving out Israel’s homeland to create a Palestinian state? Are the values of Religious Zionism advanced by a concerted effort to dilute Israel’s Jewish character? Really?


Part of the complaints and strategizing is anti-Netanyahu – these voters simply do not want a Netanyahu-led government – but among the religious Zionist malcontented more of their antipathy is focused on the presumed alliance between the Religious Zionist and the Haredi parties. Simply put, and as painful as this is to write, in pockets of the religious Zionist world there is hatred – there is no other word –for Haredim and the Haredi parties.


Well, some of this hostility is deserved. The Haredi political parties are perceived as very parochial, interested less in the general welfare of society than what government money can be sent to their communities. (To be sure, in that execrable practice, they are no different than Meretz. Yisrael Beteinu, Labor or other small parties, or other big parties.) Some of their politicians are, shall we say, less than completely honest and often comport themselves in public in undignified ways. There are the perennial issues of IDF service and participation in the work force but even amelioration of those matters in recent years – Haredi IDF service and male work force employment rates are higher than ever – has not dented, and perhaps even intensified, the loathing for them that occasionally emanates from some religious Zionists.


That should be surprising and even disappointing as it flies in the face of something Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l once said, which surprised and disappointed some in the audience to which it was said, that obviously he has more in common with Haredim than with a secular Tel Avivian. Haredim learn Torah, observe the mitzvot and want a real Jewish state. (This is not to suggest how Rav Aharon would have voted today. No one knows.) Notwithstanding the differences in outlook (army, work, approach to modern life), of course we should feel a close affinity with the Haredim even when we disagree.


Yet, there are many religious Zionists who do not, and so will vote against their own interests just so as not to empower Haredim in any way. That is short-sighted, to say the least. Just like “love upsets the natural order, so too hatred upsets the natural order” (Midrash Breisheet Raba 55:8). This requires soul-searching. For all their deficits, and despite the fact that I could not vote for a Haredi party, to see them as foes and not allies is foolhardy. And to vote for a secular party that wants a Jewish state in name but not in actuality because the Religious Zionist party leaders made this or that remark in the past is really self-destructive. Some would rather indulge the two state delusion, risk another expulsion and undermine Israel’s Jewish character than see Aryeh Deri as a minister. Indeed, for them, the perfect is the implacable enemy of the good.


It makes little sense, especially when one considers that most, if not all, politicians are not exemplars of integrity. I have often voted for the politician whose lies were least implausible. Such is modern politics. It is undoubtedly true that one can have more confidence in Betzalel Smotrich implementing his political vision than Ayelet Shaked implementing hers which seems to lack a firm grounding in any set of permanent values or even Binyamin Netanyahu, who – who knows ?– could just as easily jettison the religious parties if he wins a slight majority in favor of bringing in the Gantz party. It has been done before. With Smotrich, you really are getting what you are voting for, which is so unusual in politics that it should count for something.


What prevents religious Zionists from voting for Religious Zionism? Essentially, this is (another) crisis of faith of Religious Zionism, many of whose adherents seem to prefer it to be a movement of lofty ideas and delightful theories as long as it never impacts on any practical policies and never gets involved in the rough and tumble of politics. It reminds me somewhat of what Bobby Kennedy once said about Arthur Schlesinger, the Harvard professor and Kennedy administration aide: that Schlesinger’s liberal politics are so pure he would prefer that nothing ever actually get done than compromise on anything.


There are those religious Zionists who believe in the Religious Zionist mantra that the State of Israel is “the beginning of the flowering of the redemption” but are determined that it always remain “the beginning” and nothing more. They love to hear that proclaimed on Shabbat morning but then, the rest of the week, are not engaged in making the redemption flower. Indeed, some would be horrified if it “flowered” even more, as that would run contrary to some of the Western values they cherish. Perhaps they are religious Zionists in name or identification but not in beliefs or values.


But we should not partake of the name-calling, the tendentious media game of digging up old statements to castigate their bogeymen while burying those of their favorites, indulging the gevalt syndrome of the world collapsing if there is a right-wing government or utilizing the slanderous tropes against our political opponents that Israel-haters use against us. This is the most important election ever, we are told. Until the next one.

In the meantime, we should not vote to prevent this guy from attaining power or to stick it to the next guy. We should vote positive, vote our values, our interests, our faith and our vision. We should vote out of love and not hate. We should vote for what we think will bring the full redemption even closer –something on which I hope we can all agree.

The Jewish Character

  

     A recent Op-ed in the Jerusalem Post  declared that the Religious Zionist party and its representatives are “damaging Israel’s Jewish character,” which, I suppose, means that Israel’s Jewish character would be better promoted by candidates that were neither religious or Zionist. The good news is that, to paraphrase former US Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ comment on Joe Biden, the author of that opinion has been wrong on every major political and religious issue for close to a half century.

     Well, the Religious Zionist party is the only party that can advance the interests of Religious Zionism. It stands for love of all Jews, love of the State of Israel as a force for good and as the beginning of the flowering of the redemption, advancing a more Jewish state that secures Jewish identity, encourages more Torah study and the greater observance of mitzvah, and believes in the integrity of the entire land of Israel promised to us, yes, in the Torah. It wants to foster the observance of mitzvot on highest level and not codify compromises, minority opinions, or diluted forms of observance in order to realize some social goals. There are parties that reflect one or several of these ideas. None represent all of them, except for the Religious Zionist party.

     I have always been curious about those Jews on the left, including the author of the Op-ed, so concerned about Israel’s “Jewish character” that they are willing to undermine Israel’s true Jewish character, security and  prosperity in order to sustain their vision of what “Jewish” means. They habitually do that by cherry-picking quotations from the Torah or the words of the sages.  For example, “Darchei noam,” the ways of pleasantness, is a classic used once by a Reform rabbi to justify intermarriage and used here by the author to recall the Mafdal of old that, for all its accomplishments, served as mashgichim for the secular, Socialist establishment until a new guard took over and disseminated Torah ideals into every aspect of Israeli life – settlement, politics, education, media, the military, social policy and the like.

     This is nothing new. The Jewish left, including the relative handful that identify as Orthodox, and especially those in America, have long agonized over Israel’s Jewish character and routinely perceive threats to the survival of that character in many worthwhile endeavors. They fretted over the Jewish character of the State when Menahem Begin became prime minister, when settlements were constructed and expanded in the heartland of Israel, when Israel refuses to indulge the two-state delusion, and when Israel takes elementary measures of self-defense to protect its citizens.

      They grow anxious over Israel’s Jewish character when opportunities for Torah study abound and when traditional standards of conversion are applied.  For some inexplicable reason, Israel’s Jewish character, as they see it, is never threatened by importing hundreds of thousands of Gentiles of doubtful or partial Jewish lineage or by abdication of Israeli sovereignty in the Negev or Galil due to rampant and illegal Arab construction. They are apprehensive about the threat to the Jewish character of the State by maintaining the public observance of Shabbat, somehow perceiving mass transit and open malls on Shabbat as enhancing Israel’s Jewish character. They become frightened at the threat to Israel’s Jewish character posed by insistence on fidelity to halacha in marriage and divorce and apoplectic over what will happen to our souls if the LGTQ agenda is not adopted, embraced and celebrated.

     They are more troubled by Israel’s treatment of terrorists who want to murder us than by Israel’s expulsion of thousands of its own Jewish citizens from their homes. Somehow, that was not perceived as a breach of Jewish values or a threat to Israel’s Jewish character.

    The author shed tears over the “low ethical and humane standards” of the Religious Zionist Party, and decried it as a chillul Hashem, without actually offering one example of a violation of Torah and a breach of Torah values.  This is a perception of Torah of a sort of Christianity with some different ritual practices, but not an even particularly pious form of Christianity. Jewish sexual ethics, Jewish military ethics, and Jewish nationalism must always bend before the prevailing progressive winds. Simply, put, this view perceives Western morality as superior to that of the Torah, God forbid, and therefore the Torah must always be re-written, reformed and amended in order to accommodate elite opinion. These reforms are accomplished by some people by excising parts of the Torah and by others by exalting Talmudic clichés (usually wrenched from the context) over its substance. In both cases, the result is the same.

     These same people – who have repeatedly pressured Israel to withdraw and withdraw, concede and concede, and almost without any limiting principle – prefer the nastiness and hostility to a truly Jewish Israel of a Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the positive attitudes and unprecedented support and decisions of a Donald Trump. To quote the Talmud (Pesachim 50a), we are living in and are witness to an olam hafuch, an upside down world, in which love of Torah, its precepts, its values and its moral requisites are deemed “anti-Torah” and being, acting and thinking Jewish is actually a threat to Judaism.

     By this inversion of reality, the only way to protect Israel’s Jewish character is by empowering people who want to secularize Israel, and make it Jewish in name only (which is not Jewish at all). That might make sense to some people – but they should not be taken seriously on these matters of such grave import. They have done enough damage already – to Israel’s Jewish character.

     Those who support the ideals of Religious Zionism have no home but in the Religious Zionist Party. Every other choice is a compromise that is based on wishful thinking, and wishful thinking (Oslo comes to mind) is not a sound basis for policy. A robust Religious Zionist party will promote a strong, secure and Jewish Israel. Those who care about that should take note and vote accordingly.