Why would you expect the leaders of the Jewish Home to listen to rabbis who didn’t get them elected?
Bennett and his associates did receive mandates from secular voters, but he would not have been able to assume leadership of the Jewish Home if not for the rabbis who gave him their support: Rabbi Druckman, Rabbi Aviner, even Haredi Zionists Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. All of them oppose Bennett’s candidate, Rabbi Stav. If these rabbis had taken a stand against Bennett, he never would have made it into the list of Knesset candidates. The leaders of the Jewish Home have got to understand that rabbis are not a disposable commodity.
Why should rabbis decide questions of public policy (the big question)?
We always saw rabbis as our leaders in all things spiritual, not just in strictly halachic matters. Now some people want to reduce the rabbis to kashrut supervisors, while making themselves into the spiritual leaders. Yet we have not yet forgotten the days when Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu waged a public fight against the Disengagement, or the days of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook in the hills of Samaria.
But it’s more than that. If the rabbis don’t get to make a decision even when it comes to the matter of choosing rabbis, that means we aren’t really interested in public rabbinic leadership at all. It means that we want our rabbis to be good spokespeople, not great Torah scholars.
That “something new” that is getting started in the Jewish Home is really a certain style of self-interested competition in which the opposition is crushed by a horde of PR specialists, strategists, and plenty of money. Until recently, most of the activists of the Religious Zionist community were not familiar with this way of doing business, but—sadly and embarrassingly—they are quickly becoming acquainted.
First published in Makor Rishon (print edition)
Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg