Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90

As the needs of the community increased, the interest of its representatives, in the idea, diminished. In the true mission, in the ideological engine without which, the right to exist would be lost. Try to remember what were the achievements of these parties: no significant religious legislation – Adv. Nechama Tzivin is disappointed.

The Supreme Court ruling which determined that the Reform and Conservative movements’ conversion process would be recognized, not only was it a loss and an enormous damage to the Jewish cause in the State of Israel, it also emphasized the status and poor condition of the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties in the Knesset. These parties, who again present themselves to the voters as faithful representatives of the Torah of Israel.


This time the court was not guilty of, in my opinion, over-intervening (regardless of the fact that it should not rule in a purely Halacha matters). After all, the bottom line, in this case, is that it did not force its opinion on the legislature and did not assume powers for itself.
Anyone who has followed the unfolding of the affair knows that for a decade and a half the court has begged the Knesset to settle the issue in legislation or compromise and even warned that it would be placed in a situation of no alternative. It did not happen. Therefore, the supreme court acted accordinly.

This issue was not addressed not because it is not important enough for the ultra-Orthodox parties. In other words, it is important enough for them to be interviewed on the day of the ruling on every TV program or news website and to express the deep shock at the harm caused to the people of Israel and to threaten the “genealogies” (which are probably essential to prevent a common situation in our midst where a Yeshiva student from the Ponivege Yeshiva would marry a soldier who converted to Judaisme in the army)- But not important enough to make this a matter of principle that is fought for by all coalition and electoral means. One that can cause the overthrow of a government. That you pull out all the stops for. A cause that calls for demonstrations in places like Highway 1 or the String Bridge.

While it is true that there is no guaranteed majority on this issue, not in this Knesset, and probably not in the future, every great journey begins with a small step.

Where is the vision? Where is the war? Where did the outcry go? Where is the threat of nonpolitical cooperation if the issue is not promoted, which by all accounts is the most fundamental in terms of preserving the character of the state as a Jewish state? Nada. Nothing.

And if it wasn’t clear until now, then it refers to the issue of who is a Jew and the Law of Return.

This phenomenon faithfully represents the tension that exists between narrow vision and lateral vision in the dual roles that the sectoral parties take on, especially the religious and ultraOrthodox ones. They also claim to represent the direct interests of their electorate and also to represent the Jewish, Halacha and religious interests, to speak on its behalf and to insure the formation of a Jewish state.

Sometimes it seems very easy to arrange a budget for an Ulpana or register an ultra-Orthodox boarding school as eligible for a budget. But it is difficult and not that rewarding to wage an ideological struggle.

For many years this tension existed and the ultra-Orthodox and religious parties somehow respected it. Until it turns out that as the needs of the community increased, the interest of its representatives in the idea, diminished. In the true mission. In the ideological engine without which, the right to exist would be lost.

Try to remember the achievements of these parties – no significant religious legislation, no war over kosher standards (A struggle that was crowned with success, through the High Court of Justice [BAGATZ], due to case No. 3336/2004 which was submitted by Adv. Mordechai Eisenberg and myself, as opposed to the dragging of the feet by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Chief Rabbinate), on who is a Jew, on character and nature questions of Israel in its entirity. This is a bitter disappointment.

As an ultra-Orthodox (Haredit) person I will continue to vote for a God-fearing (Yir’ei Hashem) party and the most Haredit, no pun intended. But my donations, which I have made in the past- I will refrain from them with great pain. A religious party must first represent Judaism and the Torah of Israel and only afterwards, those who voted for it.


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The author is an attorney from Kfar Chabad and is active in the Movement for Governmental Fairness.