Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Nationalist Camp Never Learns

In 1992, the Nationalist Camp received a majority of the votes cast in the Knesset elections. Tragically, a deadly combination of ideological purity and ego led to the splitting of parties. The result was a victory for the Left and the ongoing tragedy engendered by Oslo: Terror, Murder, 3 Wars and a wave of anti-semitism unknown since the 1930's. [I am NOT saying the Right was responsible for these. It is responsible for creating the circumstances that allowed the Forces of Darkness to prevail.]

The polls that have appeared over the past few days portend a similar end. The inability of Bayit Yehudi and Ichud Leumi to merge, again based upon ideological purity (Suslov, are you listening) and pure ego, have split the 'Orange' Vote. More ominously, a combination of hubris and compacency have led many potential Likud voters to favor Avigdor Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu.

The result is that should Likud, God Forbid, not receive a strong representation over Kadima; Kadima could easily create a coalition with Labor, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu. Yes! Yisrael Beiteinu has betrayed the Right in the past and could well do it again.

Need I detail what four years of Kadima will mean when Barack Hussein Obama is in the White House?

There is only one lesson to be derived from this. Unless Likud trounces Kadima...we will be in serious, serious trouble.

Food For Thought


Shimon said...

As someone who does generally very much respect for your opinion I would be happy if you could clarify one issue.

As noted on your blog only a few days ago "What further proof does one need of the fact that Jewish Nationalism cannot exist more than one generation, without a strong connection to the Jewish religion?"

Your original reasons for leaving the Mafdal don't seem to apply to the Bayit Hayehudi especially after the breakaway (

i also don't see the Likud representing us in some crucially important issues such as the Geirut controversy

i'm sure have you given all this consideration and would be interested to hear

Ben Bayit said...

Yossi Beilin wrote in today's Yisrael Hayom that the best prospects for a serious movemnet in the peace process is a strong Likud-Right wing government.
I agree with Beilin - only if Likud trounces Kadima and the Ihud/Bayit get strong showings and Bibi forms a strong right-wing government will there be a political prcoess that will then be supported by the left from outside the coalition.

The best thing that can happen to the religious right wing camp is a close Likud-Kadima race and a rotation agreement or "unity" government (shas, lieberman, it makes no difference who the other leg is).

no matter who the pres. of the USA is

PS If the mafdal doesn't pull out now - and the moderate modern orthodox rabbis who signed the letter a few weeks ago supporting them don't ask them to do so now - they will NEVER EVER again be able pull the "look what you caused in 1992 argument" against splinter religious and right wing parties. It is pretty clear that the Ihud will go over the threshold and it's the mafdal wing that is scraping the bottom - having lost votes to Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. We've become so used to the far-right being the "splinter" or "wasted" votes that knee-jerk reactions set in. It is clear that it is now the "moderate" center-right of the modern orthodox national religious who haven't yet gone over to a large party (IB, Likud, Shas, etc.) that are causing the wasted votes by being sectoral.

Jeffrey said...

To shimon,
Your point is well taken, so let me explain.

Whether you like Moshe Feiglin or not, he is right about one thing. The only way to really have an impact in the bigger picture is through the major parties. Likud has seen a very significant rise in religious and strongly traditional elements at all levels.
Some of the strongest candidates of this type are lower down on the list. Thus, a larger Likud contingent strengthens both the country and its Jewish identity.

Yoram Kohen said...

Rabbi Woolf, I think you are entirely missing the real point of this election.

I will candidly admit that I'm not voting based on security issues or anything to do with right versus left. Not that I don't have opinions on the matters (I do and they are close to yours), but because I have long given up my vote having any real effect in the long term on these issues given Israel's political system. It's a bad system, but it's the system we're stuck with for now. It is only the English-speaking Feiglin supporters who still dream of influencing Israel's elected politicians on the "big" issues.

So what has become the true point of the election, if not left/right and security issues? Believe it or not, it is Modern Orthodoxy. Yes, Modern Orthodoxy. All knitted-kippah Israelis have already realized this, except for the Anglo-Feiglinites. You see, beyond any issues of *national* leadership, the current election has also become a referendum on the character and the future of Religious Zionism. Is it charedim who say Hallel on Yom ha-Atzmaut, or is it people like you Rabbi Woolf?

The reason the Religious Zionist union failed is quite simple, Rabbi Woolf: The inability of an entire world of Torah that calls itself Zionist, emanating from places connected to Mercaz Harav and Har Hamor, to admit that people like you, too, represent Torah no less than they do.

It may seem insane that a national election has turned into a referendum on something like this. But it has. Most religious Zionists have already realized it (once again with the exception of the Anglo-Feiglin-groupies).

Perhaps, safe inside Bar-Ilan University, this issue may not be a burning one for you, a trivial idiocy based on the "ideological purity" of people far from your own life. But for those of us who live in the real Israel, and have to put up with these fanatics in our schools and shuls and local yeshivot, the people who are represented by Ketzele and worship Rav Mordecai Eliyahu (it's his son behind the breakoff party after all), who delegitimize any Torah that is not their own, it is a crucial real-life issue.

We may not like the fact that this has turned into the religious perspective on the election, but it has. And having lived through this hell, I am voting for the future of Modern Orthodoxy in Israel. I am voting for batei midrash in which all voiced can be heard and respected (including that of Rav Mordecai Eliyahu and his son). I am voting for Bar-Ilan University. I am voting for a religious voice in the Knesset that is not charedi.

Shimon said...

All I can say is that when I look at the Bayit Hayehudi's platform and at the inspiring choice of Rabbi Prof. Hershkowitz at its head and then imagine what it should (and could) have become for the benefit of our beloved Medinah I genuinely begin to cry.

Jeffrey said...

I am very moved (and identify) with your sentiments. Moreover, I am hardly insulated from the state of Modern Orthodoxy (or its important potential). Candidly, I've been considering putting a Bet in the ballot box. I guess I'm feeling jaded that as inspiring as Prof Hershkowitz is, the Mizrachi apparatchiks may undo him.

Convince me otherwise and I might still change my mind.

Ben Bayit said...

you people have to realize that not every scholar rabbi (who may not necessarily be as inspiring to others as they are to you) and not every pretty face eloquent doctoral student on television will necessarily be a good politician and/or effective parliamentarian.

for example here is your unique one-of-a-kind female spokeswoman for right wing modern orthodoxy in action as a politician yesterday,

i grade her a D- for that seminar........

Anonymous said...

Prof. Wolff, your are quite naive. as one blogger put, a strong likud will dismantle settlements. bibi alreay gave up half of chevron the last time around. in truth what did he really do to undo Oslo - absolutely nothing. And his next in line, Sylvan Shalom is even more appeasing.
Sorry, all of them parties, including lieberman will give up their mothers and motherland to stay in power or even just to get a piece of the pie.

Jeffrey said...

I hope I'm not that naive. I am well aware of Bibi's weaknesses. I have no illusions about the kind of pressure that Obama will put on us. I am also undecided as to which is the world's oldest profession: politics or prostitution (Or whether they are the same).

We do, however, need to vote for someone. Likud seems to be the best bet (though, as I noted, I pray that Bayit Yehudi will do well and excoriate Ihud Leumi for its ego games, especially those of UA). It's a louse situation, but you need to go with what there is.

Shimon said...

I'm a bit self conscious regarding my ability to convince people, but since you set down the challenge I shall respond.

Anonymous said...

is your point of mentioning president obama's middle name a way of pointing out that he'll be pro-arab because his father, to whom he had no relationship, named him that name? if so then grow up!

Jeffrey said...

Barack Obama was educated in Muslim schools, and was an occasionally practicing Muslim (though he is now a Christian). He was raised by his step-father, a practicing Muslim. My point is that he has internalized values and a world view which, while principled, is dangerous for the future of the State of Israel and for the struggle against world Jihad.

Y. Ben-David said...

It is a myth that the split in the Right "brought about the Oslo disaster". The Right lost the 1992 election because the Likud was badly split and trying to commit suicide. In any event had a narrow right-wing gov't come to power in 1992, they would have lost the next election because each time in recent history there was a narrow Right-wing gov't it was defeated in the next election by the Left saying that "the Likud sold out Israel to the Haredim". If the Likud indeed forms the new gov't and puts the Haredim in the coalition, even with Kadima, the Left will claim again in the next election that the "Likud sold us out to the Haredim". Thus Oslo would have come in 1996 instead of 1993. It was inevitable that Oslo would come sooner or later.

I am tired of "strategic voting", i.e. doing calculation about who is "least bad", who will go into the coalition "to influence from within". I used to do this and I ended up voting for an ineffectual (old) Ihud HaLeumi that sat in Sharon's gov't that passed the cursed "Roadmap" that called for a Palestinian state. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR SOMEONE I DON'T BELIEVE IN. In this election my choice was between voting (new) Ihud HaLeumi or staying home. I would NOT vote for a joint Ihud HaLeumi plus MAFDAL list because Orlev supported Sharon and the destruction of Gush Katif until he was forced at the last minute to leave the gov't due to public pressure. Had that existed this time, I would not have voted for voted for a party that I was sure would NOT pass the threshold as a protest (e.g. the anti-bank party).

I totally agree with Ben Bayit that strong Likud gov'ts with large majorities are the most dangerous for YESHA. Yossi Beilin says the same thing. Thus, this muddled result with Right-wing majority but weak Likud is probably the best we pro-YESHA people could have hoped for.

Sammy Finkelman said...

....The result is that should Likud, God Forbid, not receive a strong representation over Kadima; Kadima could easily create a coalition with Labor, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu

Except that, for some reason Avigdor Lieberman doesn't seem to want that, maybe because it would be very damaging to his party - not only hs voters but his Knesset members might defect - and also there is too much enmity between Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas.