The strategic advisers are a plague in the national-religious community, and what they are doing makes one long for the old political appointments committee. They and the spins, tricks, and artificial Internet feedback that they have brought with them from their work in business and in the self-aggrandizing world of secular politics have created a distasteful atmosphere the likes of which have never before been seen in the elections of the religious Zionists.
These are the people who go to any length to ruin the incumbents’ reputation, demeaningly calling them “mashgichei kashrut” (kashrut supervisors) with crass reference to our army memories of insulting those who served as such. But what a difference there is!
AND IN THIS whole mess, where are the rabbis? This is all happening in a party that was founded by sixty-six European rabbis. It would be appropriate for a group of rabbis and educators to get up, publicly clarify our real priorities, and stop this slide to populism—even if it does stand to increase the number of seats we have in the Knesset. How? Let there be a religious ruling that the Knesset is a place for those on a mission, not for self-promoters. It should be made clear that those on this mission are expected to prove themselves over time on the testing grounds of religious Zionist public life before they are considered as political candidates.
Bring on the grunts. Ever since the National-Religious Party started bringing on media stars, it has only deteriorated. We have a rich history of role models to emulate, such as Michael Chazani, a power behind the settlement enterprise and a minister of social affairs, and legendary Holocaust-survivor-turned-MK Avramale Melamed. Neither was media savvy, nor were they Gush Emunim activists, but their fingerprints are readily visible on the institutions and communities of the national-religious world, including in Judea and Samaria.
If you want a really “Jewish Home” instead of just another populistic political party, then go vote for the grunts and public servants.
Originally published in Makor Rishon (Hebrew), November 2, 2012. Translated to English by David B. Greenberg.