Thursday, October 24, 2019

Will The Chareidim Be The New NRP?

The NRP, Mafdal, National Religious Party used to have a slogan to make it clear that they'd justify being in all coalitions to support their "special interests."

In those days they'd stay out of "politics" or anything controversial. They were "middle of the road," and even Leftist. They'd claim that their presence in the coalition was to safeguard the mamlachti dati, religious public schools, their kibbutzim and the rabbinate. This "ideology" predated the 1967 Six Days War. Religiosity in Israel was rather weak and apologetic. The Baal Teshuva Phenomenon hadn't yet reached Israel, and the NRP was more Labor with a crocheted kippah than comfortable with Menachem Begin and his followers.

It took a decade after the mind-blowing miraculous 1967 Six Days War for Menachem Begin's Likud to gain power and the settling of Judea and Samaria to begin in earnest. The old NRP leaders had to join with Likud to keep their power, and the youngsters were influenced by Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook to settle the Land. Their youth movement, Bnai Akiva, moved more to the Right both politically and religiously. Also, after all these decades the mamlachti dati, religious public school system is firmly entrenched in government bureaucracy and is not under threat.

Israel's political chaos of today requires shaking things up to form a coalition. That's why there are rumors that Blue & White will try to make a deal with the chareidi parties. Today's chareidi parties are more insecure than the strongly ideological dati leumi, national religious crowd. The chareidim have more financial needs to support their schools, yeshivot, social services and amutot. They need to be in the coalition.

For Blue & White to form a ruling coalition, they need to break Bibi's bloc of parties, or at least MKs. As soon as Gantz's crew get a few deserters, he can declare a government. So my guess is that the chareidi political leaders will use their talmudic skills to rationalize jumping Bibi's ship and joining with Gantz. And Gantz will rationalize/defend his going against his "no chareidi" promise by reminding his supporters that the alternative would be another useless tied election.

What do you think?

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