At this juncture, two and a half weeks before the coming elections for the 19th Knesset, the big surprise – unless we due for some shocking turn of events – is going to be the success of the Jewish Home list led by Naftali Bennett. All the polls are promising the Jewish Home will triple its power, and some optimists are predicting an even bigger victory.
In any event, this will be the first time that the Jewish Home party, built on the ruins of the old NRP, has turned from a purely sectoral party into a wide-ranging Israeli party supported by voters who are religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim (it’s a fact!), young people voting for the first time and older people, men and women.
Now, it’s true that King Ahab of Israel has cautioned: “One who puts on his armor [before the battle] should not boast like one who takes it off [after the victory].” (Kings I 20:11) Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps because he wants to stop Jewish Home activists from resting on their laurels, Naftali Bennett has been trying, in meetings with supporters and on other occasions, to cool down the excitement and to lower expectations. He speaks “only” about 12 seats, which is also, you’ll have to admit, a nice figure compared to where he started.
The big questions, of course, are where does the Jewish Home get its new votes? Where do these 7 to 10 additional seats that are adding up in the polls come from? And who are the Jewish Home’s new voters?
We’ll start with the most natural pool of voters: the National Religious public that in the past rejected the politics of both the NRP and the National Union, deserting both of their organic parties to roam instead in foreign lands. The stale image that stuck to the brand NRP also did it in. The National Religious are used to joking that there’s no such thing as a guy under 40 wearing a knitted yarmulke who’s ever voted NRP. Young people who graduated from the national-religious school system—the NRP’s baby—studied in Hesder yeshivas—also cultivated by the NRP—and went to college in Bar Ilan—once again, a creation of the NRP, for some reason have been opting in their later years to kick the NRP down, ignoring the most basic obligation of gratitude. Let’s not go into a long discussion of their reasons for the moment.
THE RIGHT OF RETURN
The enormous pool of voters whose ingestion and birth took place inside Religious Zionism has been scattered in the wind. It landed in the Likud, in Shas, in Labor, in Torah Judaism and in Kadima. Their slogan used to be: anything but the NRP. The image—not necessarily true—of their organic party as an assembly of hacks seeking patronage jobs has kept them away from their natural home.
Now they’re coming back. They utilize their right of return. They’re returning from the Likud, following a list of deep disappointments:
Netanyahu’s commitment to the concept of “two states for two nations,” and his insistence on holding on to it even nowadays (never mind MK Hotoveli’s utterly nonsensical claim this week that Netanyahu’s 2-state slogan was only a tactical move).
Netanyahu’s housing construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, reminiscent of the British “White Paper” of 1939, a decree no leftist government had ever imposed.
The indifferent, even criminal attitude regarding to infiltration by 60 thousand Muslim illegals from the Sudan and Eritrea, most of whom are criminals and certainly not refugees.
The torpedoing of the Certification Law proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev, which would have prevented the needless destruction in Migron, Ulpana Hill, and other places.
The bowing before the corrupt “Cult of Justice,” whose nine high priests on the Supreme Court only this week empowered terror-supporter Haneen Zoabi to run for the Knesset, depriving the State of Israel of its right to defend itself against the fifth column within.
Had the Likudniks minded public opinion, they would have taken more seriously the findings of the Ma’agar Mochot survey from November, 2011, which reported that a huge majority, 75 percent of the public, thinks the high court has a leftist bias. Leftist? They’re leftier than leftists. If only the Likudniks were loyal to their voters… How did it happen that out of the 55 thousand attorneys practicing law in Israel, only the anti-nationalist Yehuda Weinstein was picked for the job of Attorney General? Have they not yet internalize the idea that justice must also be seen?Menachem Rahat
About the Author: Born in Tel Aviv in 1943. Graduated Bar Ilan University (Political Science and History) and Haifa University (Political Science). Chaired the Maariv political desk for 24 years. Married with children and grandchildren. Living in Raanana.
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