In response to the recent attempts by the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas parties to snatch away voters from the National-Religious camp, the heads of the Yamina party went on the campaign trail to Bnei Brak.
Minister Bezalel Smotrich and MK Ayelet Shaked visited Bnei Brak on Thursday evening, meeting young ultra-orthodox voters over Cholent at Shleikas restaurant.
What was one of the main issues that concerned the young Bnei Brak voters? Was it the IDF draft?
No, it was the horrible traffic jams getting in and out of Bnei Brak.
For comparison’s sake: Bnei Brak is far more dense than the Gaza strip which is a mere 5045 people per square kilometer, or Gaza City, which has only 13,000 people per square kilometer.
Bnei Brak is Israel’s most densely populated city, with 26,368 people per square kilometer.
Transportation Mininster Smotrich told the hungry crowd that he is working with the local municipality to rehabilitate the main entry and exit points to Bnei Brak, as well as building new interchanges from the highway.
Smotrich is even adding direct access from Highway 4 to Bnei Brak’s very popular Mayanei Hayeshua hospital.
Mayanei Hayeshua hospital serves the greater Petach Tikva, Givat Shmuel, Bnei Berak and Ramat Gan region, delivering some 13,000 babies a year (that’s nearly as many as New York’s Mt. Sinai hospital handles every year).
Bezalel Smotrich told JewishPress.com, “If one percent of the popularity we won here [tonight] translates into mandates, we are riding the wave. We are very close to a rightwing government. If I am able to stay in the Transportation Ministry, the Chareidi community will be a major beneficiary. They are a large population that relies heavily on public transportation. I will continue to fight for public transportation and for this precious public. That’s a promise!”
MK Ayelet Shaked said that Yamina is the home for working Chareidim.
Shaked said that she and Minister Naftali Bennett worked to create suitable conditions within the higher education system for Chareidi men and women who want to get a higher education, earn a good living and enter the work force. The Yamina party will also help advance the state-chareidi educational institutions.
It appears that Yamina has found a weak-link in the UTJ/Shas chain – young Chareidim who want higher education, who want to enter the work force and want to be better integrated within Israeli society, but also want a party that shares their core religious values.