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July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
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A New Party With An Old Platform For An Old-New Land


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Far from being merely a social movement, already in its nascent stages, members of Am Shalem have begun to consolidate their social ideals into a practical political platform. Amsalem remains committed to placing national unity and social equality at the forefront of his political aspirations. Therefore, he has publicly declared that any future Am Shalem list will have some of its highest ranked seats reserved for women and secular members of the Party. Even if only elected to the Knesset with the fewest possible seats, Am Shalem will look to represent the full range of Israeli society. Additionally, members of the party have proclaimed that their stand for national unity and religious moderation will not be left on the streets of Beit Shemesh, but will continue in the Knesset, where its party’s members are committed to fighting the religious extremism and special interests of Shas and Degel HaTorah.

As Am Shalem looks forward to upcoming elections, its members have taken pause to consider the Israel of tomorrow. It is their hope, that have said, that by moderating religious extremism and advocating for a religious elite that is both scrupulous in its halachic rulings but divorced from its propensity to espouse non-mandated halachic stringencies, Israeli society will be a place of tolerance for all Jews. In the future Israeli society, secular elements of the society will return to embracing the need for the nation to maintain Judaism’s unbroken chain of religious observance, even if they themselves choose not to commit to religious practice. Ultimately, Am Shalem and its supporters dream about an Israel that is united, with a society that is free and socially open, while remaining dedicated to the religious principles that have sustained the Jewish nation throughout the millennia.

But before you write their dream off as impossible, the people of Israel are beginning to rally behind Am Shalem and its members. In the past weeks, Am Shalem, in its first showing in a nationwide poll, successfully secured two seats in a prospective Parliament. Needing to only secure three seats to be admitted to the legislature, and with nearly two years before the next scheduled election, the future seems bright for Am Shalem, and its dreams for establishing national unity as a preeminent force in Israel’s social and political future. In any case, Amsalem and his supporters will most probably continue to try to make the ideal of national unity, an old but truly progressive platform, a reality in Israel’s future and in doing so reaffirm one of the State’s most fundamental principles. As Herzl wrote, in his pioneering work Altneuland, “If you will it, it is no dream; and if you do not will it, a dream it is and a dream it will stay.”

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6 Responses to “A New Party With An Old Platform For An Old-New Land”

  1. While others bemoan the present and mock those who try to effect change, Rabbis Amsalem and Lipman are standing up and aren’t cowered by the challenge or the many naysayers. Hats off to these idealistic visionaries; we need more people like them in the Knesset.

  2. With all due respect, one item is factually incorrect here: Rabbi Lipman, if elected, would *not* be the first American-born MK to have made aliyah as an adult. That distinction belonged to the Jewish Press’ own irrepressible columnist – Rabbi Meir Kahane, obm.

  3. B Gold says:

    Much of this looks good. But the IDF part – no.
    Not at present.
    IDF is compromised as an enemy of observant jews.
    witness the nighttime settlement evacuations, the kol isha issues etc.

    All done on purpose.

    Change the IDF leadership – yes. Join now? No.

  4. Eileen Weinberg says:

    It’s about time! I’m looking forward to hearing wonderful things from this newly established political party! Kol Hakavod

  5. LM says:

    Am Shalem makes a lot of sense. Somehow Israel must keep from tearing itself apart, and I hope they succeed.

    To the editor: In the first few paragraphs, I found the following misspellings: aid for aide, premiere for premier, and patrimonial for something (probably patrilineal). The People of the Book deserve more fluent use of the language.

  6. yuta says:

    Kudos to Rav Amsalem and the Am Shalem movement for taking such a brave stand while remaining true to halacha.

    Rav Moshe Feinstein, ZT”L used to say that every machmir can be a posek. That seems to be the trend in the frum world of today and to see scholarly, sincere B’nai Torah take on the religious, political, cultural and social problems while being guided by the wisdom of our sages is truly refreshing.

    Rav Amsalem and others in his movement like Rabbi Dov Lipman are providing solutions to the various crises fomented by individuals who have chosen to heap chumrot upon chumrot and then demand that others adhere to their extremist demands. They and the Am Shalem movement deserve to be supported politically and financially by all rational Jews who long for sanity to be restored.

    Rav Amsalem along with Rabbi Dov Lipman and others who are active in Am Shalem bring hope for the future of Yiddishkeit.

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