Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Nu? NU, NRP, No?

Accommodation vs Ideology

The National Union and the National Religious Party had seemed like the perfect couple. And despite the prayers and encouragement of their respective families, it looks like there won't be a wedding.

Lots of words are being thrown around, but no real action, commitment. Even Baruch Marzel, head of an upstart and so far unsuccessful party talks of unity.

Instead of uniting around the ideal of Eretz Yisrael for Am Yisrael, the Land of Israel for the People of Israel, all of these politicians are calling for unity around each one's party. If Marzel really believed in unity, he'd join the National Union. I have no doubt that he'd contribute a lot, and he really is necessary for its success, but if he insists on running in competition with it, we will all suffer.

A merge between the National Religious Party and the National Union is difficult. They are very, very different parties and mind sets, mentalities. The NRP, one of the most veteran of all Israeli political parties, has a tradition of accommodation, being part of the coalition, no matter who is in power. They have their "pet projects," like the "Mamlachti Dati," State Religious Education System, which they have controlled for decades.

Over the years the more ideological members, like Channan Porat and the Tekuma faction, have left. Tekuma is now part of the National Union. What remains in the NRP is the more left-wing and non-ideological leadership. This makes it very difficult to find common ground with the National Union.

A large percentage of the traditional NRP voters are disillusioned with them and vote NU, Marzel, Likud--Feiglin, or Chareidi parties. In the upcoming elections, the NRP on it's own, won't get many votes. At least that's my opinion. Maimad, "left-wing religious peace camp" went to Labor. It's understandable that for politicians seeing their party weaken, the idea of joining another is traumatic.

NRP is more a life-style than ideology. The party never attracted me. I always voted ideology. But I can understand their dilemma and pain.

The Left-Center is reinventing itself, and it's time for the NRP to do the same. It would be better to be remembered as brave and loyal to The Land of Israel and Judaism than to just fade away.


yitz said...

True, Batya, but from what I understand, people like Tzvi Handel & others are NOT giving up on the Mafdal, and as you quoted that sage, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over"! So, stay tuned, politics not only makes "strange bedfellows," but even near-miracles do occur.

Of course, a unity between these two is just the beginning. As you correctly state, Marzel too needs to join them. Then, of course, the Chareidi parties, and whatever's left of the ideological Likud - and perhaps the so-called "left-center" [really Mapam-Meretz in various forms] will be defeated! Halevai!

Batya said...

G-d willing! But it's all up to ordinary men.