Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Union supports Bennet for Bayit Yehudi

In the upcoming elections, the National Union is planning on running with the Bayit Yehudi on a joint list. In the last election, they were supposed to run together as well, but it didn't happen in the end. This morning Katzeleh, the leader of the NU, said in an interview that for the merger to really work, Bennet must lead the party list. When he was asked what would happen if Orlev won the Bayit Yehudi primaries, he answered that of course the NU would continue trying to run together, but it would be politics as usual with Orlev.

Katzeleh predicted 15-20 seats in the coming Knesset for the joint Bayit Yehudi-NU list under the leadership of Bennet. He went as far as placing himself in 7th place on the list, which would give him 14th place on a joint BY-NU list, exuding confidence that he would continue to be in the Knesset. My take on it is that the final deal with the Bayit Yehudi, Katzeleh will get the ministerial position so that he doesn't really care if he is actually in the Knesset or not.

Another thought I had is that if Orlev wins, Katzeleh wants nothing to do with the Bayit Yehudi and will thereby take himself out of the Knesset.

Labor cancels affirmative action

The Labor party has traditionally held a number of reserved spots on their knesset list. There were regional spots so people from the north or south could get in, places for representatives of kibbutzim and moshavim, probably some places for women and all that. Shelly, the leader of the party asked the central committee yesterday to remove the regional and sectorial reserved spots. She added some more spots for women and lowered the Arabs from 2 reserved spots to 1. I am a bit confused as to why a party whose leader is a woman needs affirmative action for women. They have already made it.
One of the given reasons for this change was an example of a reserved spot was filled by someone who got 1300 votes, meaning he had no real support in the party, and then switched parties and took the seat to Kadima.
I find it very interesting that the more "liberal" party is removing the affirmative action, while the conservative parties are adding it in.

I can understand sectorial reserved spots as a marketing ploy to draw in more members of that sector. If there is an arab MK who actually does something for his community, the odds are there will be more Arab voters for the party in the next Knesset race. Reserving spots for candidates in the perifery, acknowledges that central living politicians don't have a clue as to what is actually going on in the far reaches of the country and they need representation.
On the other hand, the candidate from the perifery should be able to convince his regional neighbors to vote for him because he has their best interests at heart. If they all vote for him, he will have a realistic spot on the list. If they don't care about perifery issues, then why should the party basically force them to care.

In any case, I see Labor growing slightly in strength during this election at the expense of Kadima, which should pretty much drop from the political arena. They are certainly not going to be a powerhouse as they once were and not a serious contender.

It looks like Likud Beitenu, even if they lose a seat or 2 because of the merge, will still have the most seats by far and will be forming the next government.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Political Affirmative Action

One of the methods the Bayit Yehudi is trying in order to revamp its image and make it relevant again is offering a realistic reserved spot for a woman and a "youngster." The highest ranking woman in the polls will get the 4th spot on the list and the highest ranking person under 40 will get the 5th spot on the list. If a woman or youngster receives a higher spot on the list, such as number 2, they use the reserved spot in their higher location. In other words, affirmative action is only relevant when the target population cannot reach the bar on their own.
An interesting issue has arisen in that one of the women running for the list, Ayelet Shaked, is also under 40. There are three iffy scenarios here.

1) If Ayelet gets the 4th spot, does that count for both woman and youngster and cancel out the other youngster spot?
2) If an older woman (not really an "older woman", but older then 40) gets the reserved woman spot and Ayelet Shaked has the highest votes of the under 40 candidates, would she get the youngster spot or can she only be a candidate for one reserved spot?
3) If Ayelet gets the most votes of both the younger and female candidates, which of the 2 positions would she fill? Would they let an older woman take the woman spot and give her the youngster spot?

The regulations committee has decided that a younger woman is able to represent both women and younger people, but the youngsters on the list feel that is quite a burden to put on young Mrs. Shaked. They have petitioned the Bayit Yehudi court to allow a candidate to only fill one affirmative action position at a time. They seem to agree that Ayelet can compete for both reserved spots and get whichever one is higher.
The petitioners are: Jeremy Gimpel (who we think will get in without affirmative action), Amiad Taoub, Yoni Shtabon and Ayelet herself.

Sandy - Repentence anyone

I recently was studying the book of Jonah in my quest to go through all of the tanach (Torah, Prophets and Writings) by the time I am 40. One of the things that struck me was the fact that a prophet comes to the Assyrian capital, Ninveh, announces that in 40 days the city will be destroyed and suddenly a movement of repentance strikes the land and everyone starts doing acts of kindness and becoming better people.

I suggested to the class I am studying with that there must have been a natural disaster looming in order to convince the people that he was serious. Why else would people suddenly think, "Oh man, that guy knows what he is talking about."  The general response of the other people is that there is nothing in the story to indicate that,

Looking at Sandy the Hurricane, and the utter terror she is invoking makes me sure that is what happened. I heard Obama on the news instructing people to prepare to evacuate and to follow instructions. I am expecting a news report, "This just in, a prophet of God has just indicated that New York will be completely destroyed if the people do not repent. Please put on your repenting shoes, get down on your knees and pray."

Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not reporting this and there is no general call for repentance. One of the problems with a generic call for repentance is that nobody would actually know what that meant. Everyone thinks that they are behaving properly. I assume that back in Ninveh, the citizens did not think of themselves as bad people, and would have been dumbfounded to hear otherwise. They would probably call the person an extremist.

What would that repentance entail? One may start praying regularly, but is he praying to the God of Heaven and Earth or to a human figure who they believe is his son or even to a statue or a cow? The repentance that was done must have been a humanistic repentance, involving treating people correctly, for that is the only thing your average person can think that he may have done incorrectly.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Orlev vs Bennet

I really enjoyed listening to the debate. After listening to the whole thing, I consider it to be a complete knockout for Bennet. The debate certainly succeeded in showing the difference between the two of them. I have no connection to the mafdal of Orlev and am completely in line with the vision of Bennet.

One of the main points of Bennet is that he will bring 10-12 mandates whereas Orlev will only bring 2-3. Orlev did not disagree with this. He agrees that he will only bring a few mandates and he is happy with this.

Orlev's main point is that the party should not be opened to traditional Jews because there is no point in having another right wing party, if it does not focus specifically on the dati leumi community. He also believes that you need experience to lead and he certainly has the experience.

These were basically the 2 points there were spewn back and forth over the hour and a half debate

Jeremy Gimpel was mentioned by Orlev in the last 45 seconds of the debate as one of the excellent candidates who we should vote for.

My commentary:
In my opinion, there is no point in a mafdal with 3 seats, it gives us absolutely no political power and turns us into the court Jew. As Naftali pointed out, it has become something whose purpose is to give a vort at the opening of the Knesset. There are a number of dati leumi people in the Knesset from other parties. They fled from the NRP because it became completely irrelevant. Opening the party to "Jewish issues" instead of dati leumi issues gives us so much more power, if it can bring in the voters.

Orlev has been part of the machine that has been losing voters left, right and center for the past 15 years. His excuse is that he was not leading the party at that time, so none of it is his fault. Now he wants to lead.
One of the things Orlev said he wants to do now is deal with high tuition in the dati leumi schools. Naftali's response was that this is not a new issue and why is he waking up now. We need political power in order to fix that issue.

I agree that you should have some experience to lead, but the past is dead and its road is broken. Without new leadership the pro Judaism faction will continue to be incorporated into other parties where they have a minor amount of political power. Building a new party on the ruins of the NRP that focuses on Jewish issues, with a focus on the national religious way of living is, in my opinion, the correct path and will bring people home instead of chasing them away.

Bayit Yehudi Debate

There was a debate today between the Zevulan Orlev and Naftali Bennet who are both running for the head of the Bayit Yehudi. I did not have a chance to hear the debate, as it was during work hours, but I hope to hear it later on if I can find a downloadable copy.

After the debate, I saw a headline on (a news site for the hebrew reading national religious people) that Orlev won the debate in a knockout and was much more prepared then Bennet. But when I clicked on the link it said the content didn't exist. When I refreshed the main page that headline was removed.

 The opinion piece that Bennet got trounced was found and there's a nother opinion piece that says Bennet won while Orlev did not accept any responsibility for the failures of the movement.

My brother-in-law actually listened to it and said there was no knockout, but there was clarification of differences. In his words:
"Orlev wants to unite religious zionists
Bennet wants to broaden the scope to traditional & secular who share values"

**UPDATE 2**
If you want to hear the debate you can download the mp3, there are 2 segments:

I'll be listening to at least part of it on my way home and I'll let you know what I think later.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

hanan zouabi

There is an Arabic woman in the Knesset named Hanan Zouabi (or something similar) from one of the Arabic parties. She is anti the state of Israel, has called for armed resistance against us and has participated in seditious acts such as being on the Marmara. Danny Danon, a Likud Knesset member and the president of World Likud, has called for her being banned from running for Knesset. There is a  law stating that people who support terror organizations and armed struggle against Israel cannot be elected to the Knesset. Danny would like my support in petitioning the Knesset to ban this lady.

I have a few issues with the whole situation. First of all, as Hanan herself stated, the attorney general in Israel decided that there was no basis for bringing charges against her for all the wrongs that Danny Danon feels that she committed. If the Israeli court system can't try her and throw her into jail, I don't think the Knesset has the right to make that determination. Second of all, She is representing her people. They all hate the State of Israel and would like to see the Jewish people drink from the sea of Gaza. However, Danny Danon did not propose any laws to expel all of the Israeli Arab population from the country. Why is that? If we were really against sedition, we would put them all on a boat and send them out to the wild blue yonder telling them  to find a new home. Obviously, we are willing to live with a significant population that hates us, and allowing them representation sounds reasonable to me. Third,  Hanan Zouabi is a woman. An Arab woman. The very fact that she has made it to the Knesset and represents her community is an unbelievable feat in the Arab world. We should be encouraging the Arabs to elect women, even if they hate us, and to promote equality. In other words, a woman who is elected because she publicly hates us is much better for us in terms of molding their society then a man who outwardly behaves like a gentleman.

Finally, there is a law stating who can and cannot be in the Knesset. Why should I need to support Danon in order to get the Knesset to follow its own laws. If they need my help petitioning them to remind them what the law is, there is another problem. If the idea is to provide enough pressure that the Knesset will decide to ban her despite the laws protecting her, this is mob rule.

The fact that we now have religious Jewish women dressing up like arab women in bet shemesh  indicates that people like Zouabi are role models to all people in Israel who hate Zionists.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

bnei menashe - a political force

I've been getting more involved in the local bayit yehudi movement. 250 people in our village signed up to be members of the party. This gives them the right to votein primaries for local and national elections. When we first saw the list of voters, there was a bit of confusion as to 50 names of people from the Bnei Menashe community who nobody asked to sign up. It costs 40 shekels to sign up and they are generally not very financially well off, so nobody thought to ask them.

Our initial thought was that someone was trying to skew the local election results by signing up people and paying their membership fees. It took another week or so until we found out that Jeremy Gimpel has been supporting their cause for the past number of years and when they heard he was running for Knesset they all signed up.

Most of the people in the national religious community in our village did not become members of the party. However, every single member of the bnei menashe did register. Even though they are less then 5% of the national religious population, they control 20% of the local primary vote. We helped them understand the process and they appointed a representative to be in the local branch of bayit yehudi.
On the other hand, the English speaking community, which numbers approximately 100 voters only signed up 10 members, which should give us little to no political power in the primaries.

A small community can become a viable political force if they all take action together.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Likud - Israel Our Home merger

In the latest political earthquake, Likud and Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) announced a mnerger for the upcoming elections. Some of the reports include a prime minister rotation where Natanyahu will head it for 3 years and Lieberman for the remaining 1.  Of course there has never been a Knesset that actually lasted the full 4 years, so Lieberman would get screwed in that scenario.

What's puzzling to me is who gains by this move. Looking at the political landscape, I don't see anybody who was going to vote for another party change their minds and vote for this one. But I do see Likudniks who don't like Lieberman and YB people who think Lieberman is selling them out leaving the party. In other words, I see Lapid or other "centrist" party gaining a seat or 2 and the Bayit Yehudi gaining a seat or 2.

What could be happening behind the scenes is a consolidation in preparation for a "change in style of government" law that passes shortly before the government disbands. This law, which everyone has been talking about for a decade would change the minimum number of seats for a party to 10. That would completely wipe out the smaller parties and there is enough support for that kind of law among the big parties right now. Currently, the minimum number of seats for a party in the Knesset is 3. In a coalition agreement, that gives 2.5% of the seats the power to impose their will on the majority. A 10 seat law would completely get rid of the fringe parties and force unity and compromise amongst people who stand on "principles."

In fact, I can see only good coming from a minimum 10 seat law.

I just heard an interesting take on the merger. In the last election, Kadima had the biggest party so they got the first chance to try and form a government. The Likud with YB together have the best chance of being the largest party and then having first chance to make a coalition.
Personally, I still don't think it is good for them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What's a Feiglin?

In a previous post, I explained how coalitions work. There is another method of getting your issues into the Knesset and that is called Feiglining. Moshe Feiglin decided that he did not like the direction the country was going in. The Likud was becoming lefter and held positions similar to Labor of old. There was no major party that supported completely canceling the Oslo accords.

Feiglin believes that small parties are bad. They push their issues onto the rest of the country as a minority by blackmailing the ruling parties through coalition agreements. IOW, if a party with 3 seats (2.5%) and a single issue is a make or break faction in the coalition, their issue is going to get a lot more attention and chance for success then 2.5% support deserves. Most importantly, major issues, such as Feiglin wants to impact, can only be effected by a ruling party and not by a coalition agreement. So Feiglin joined the Likud, which is the largest party that historically is closest to his nationalistic viewpoint. He and his supporters signed up a tremendous number of new members and gained a lot of power on the Likud Central Committee.

One of the adverse reactions to the Feiglin method is the formation of Kadima. As the Likud Central Committee became more right wing and prevented the Likud politicians from acting in what they considered to be the national interest, they broke the strangle hold of the central committee by forming a new party. Some elements in the Likud dislike Feiglin because they feel he is an interloper. He should just join the Bayit Yehudi/National Union instead of trying to force his agenda on the party.

Approximately 1/3 of Feiglin's supporters are not religious, but they are true to the Land of Israel. The Bayit Yehudi was formed from the National Religious Party and elements who wanted to be able to include non-practicing members as well who have a love of Israel and Judaism. The reason why Feiglin won't join a party like Bayit Yehudi is because he doesn't feel that it has a chance to become a ruling party. However, if he joined the Bayit Yehudi in a unity move along with the National Union, they could get very close to being a ruling party.

The final question being, is Bayit Yehudi ready to be a ruling party or do they prefer to be the religious wing of whichever party happens to win.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Parish Rabbi

Do you know who the chief rabbi of your city is? Does your neighborhood have a rabbi? If you have some religious questions where do you go? You want to participate in a bit of Yom Kippur, but bike riding seems so disconnected. You haven't been to a bet knesset since your bar-mitzva, how should you celebrate your son's?

What we need is the parish rabbi. The person who will go into a secular neighborhood and go door to door telling people that he is their rabbi if they need any dose of spirituality. He must be open and warm, ready to celebrate the good times and provide support during difficulties. We need batei knesset where secular people feel welcome, where they can go for their smachot and feel at home. Maybe a Yom Kippur davening that does not take all day, and includes inspirational speeches. The rabbi should not condone the behavior of people who do not follow the religious laws, but he should not condemn them either. Teach out of love and reach out to people.

We have to understand that the reality is that most Jews in Israel consider themselves to be not religious. However, a large percentage are traditional in many aspects, including having a seder on Pesach, dressing up on Purim, lighting Chanukah candles, etc.. The chumra of the week is driving these people farther away instead of closer. We definitely need to reconsider the reality and think of a strategy to bring Jews closer to Judaism instead of farther away.

This is not just a pipe dream. The Bayit Yehudi/national religious can make it a reality as we get more political power. Currently, religious services in Israel are owned by the chareidi rabbinate. Unfortunately, most of the people who require religious services are not religious and the chareidi rabbis generally do not understand the secular population and have no desire to speak to them. As the Bayit Yehudi grows in power, we will have the power to appoint these parish rabbis, who want to effect change and draw people in.  This has already been started by the Tzohar rabbis. They have seen the hatred that the secular community has for the religious figures they have to deal with when they want to get married or buried. They see there is no answer for people who just want a bit of spirituality in their lives, but are not ready to commit to a full religious lifestyle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NBN is a good thing

A recent libelous article in Haaretz blasted NBN giving spewing false facts and half truths. Obviously, a non-profit, idealistic agency is better for aliyah then anything the government can provide.

The Jewish Agency was so unsuccessful in bringing Jews from the US to Israel before NBN came along. My experience with the Jewish Agency rep in Chicago went like this:
Me: "Hi, I'd like to make aliyah"
JA rep: "No you don't. It's much better living in the states."
Me: "No, I really want to."
JA rep: "You're making a big mistake. I'm living here for a reason."

We came in the 2nd year of NBN, before they had worked out all the kinks. When I described my NBN aliyah process to olim who moved before NBN existed they were shocked. No bureaucracy? No standing in endless lines? No shuttling from office to office without actually getting any answers? We didn't deal with any of that. We filled out paperwork on the airplane, got sal kilta at the airport which was waiting for us in an envelope with our names on it and came to Jerusalem 3 days later to get our teudat zehut, identity cards.

Governmental agencies in Israel are absolute hell. The people who work for them generally are not idealistic and trying to help people, they just have a job that they have to do. We bought a car with aliyah rights and it has a limitation on it for 5 years before I can sell it on the market. Instead of the limitation automatically coming off after 5 years, I had to go through hell trying to get it off 8 years later. Calling the department 5 times, getting different answers from different people.

 It could be that NBN can be streamlined more, but replacing it with a governmental agency is so wrong it sounds Obamaesque.

English Politics

 For those of you who saw the previous blog post, I am issuing an apology and retraction. I completely mischaracterized and misunderstood the idea of having an Anglo department in the Bayit Yehudi.

Jeremy Gimpel is actually working to create a political home for the English speaking community. Currently, English speakers are completely ignored in the government world. When you call a government office, you can press 1 for Hebrew, 2 for Russian and 3 for Arabic, but there is no 4 for English.

A lot of Americans have double taxation issues. Israeli spouses of Americans have to go through the standard Israeli process to get a US visa.  There is currently no English speakers in the Knesset despite the hundreds of thousands of English speakers living here.

We support Jeremy for the Knesset.

Monday, October 22, 2012


How does a government coalition work?
The party that is given the mandate to build a coalition starts by deciding what their goals are for accomplishing during the term. They then have to decide among all the other parties, who most closely resembles their goals and on the flip side whose demands will not cause too much of a strain from their core voters. When the Likud spoke to Kadima, they insisted on giving up too much to the Arabs without negotiation or getting anything in return. Kadima is like the bend over party and they act surprised when they are taken advantage of  (see rockets flying regularly from the gaza strip).

The larger the party is, the more they can get in a coalition agreement. In the last government, the bayit yehudi only had 3 seats. They received a minor ministry, positions in some important governmental committees and around 400 million shekels a year for Torah education. Of the more important decisions were the agreements to "consider", "think about", "form committees" and other nonsense about issues that are important to the national religious public. We also got control over national service.

I think the funniest item in the coalition agreement was the clause that there would be a forum based on good will and mutual interest between Shas and Bayit Yehudi regarding religious services.

In the upcoming Knesset, I would like to see a natural coalition of Likud, Israel Our Home (Lieberman) and Bayit Yehudi. They all have the same basic guidelines for how he country should be run. 

Joint Leadership...uh..gag

According to news reports, MinisterRavPartyHeadDanielHershkovitz quit the primary race for the head of the Bayit Yehudi and threw his support behind Orlev. The agreement they reached was that Orlev would be the party head and they would run the party together. They say they were influenced by Shas triumvirate party leadership and only want unity. They have invited Naftali Bennet to join them in their own triumvirate. This takes us back to the old days of the NRP. Handshake deals in smoky rooms trading votes for "jobs."

Keep in mind that best buddies Hershkovitz and Orlev cannot stand each other. They spent the last 4 years in the Knesset fighting with each other and only now when it seems that the Bayit Yehudi will replace the Mafdal Dinosaur, do they come together in peace and unity.  The big question is what will Hershkovitz get for trading his soul to the devil? My bet is president of Bar Ilan University. You read it here first.

The old party leadership is also trying to quell the younger vote. In the primaries the only place where members can vote is in the district they registered. This means that students and soldiers will not be able to vote in the primary. Is it coincidental that the majority of the youger members support Naftali Bennet?

I call on all Bayit Yehudi members to rise above the same old backroom deals and come together to vote for Naftali Bennet. In with the new.

Whats up with the single issue parties?

You may have noticed that there are a number of political parties that focus on a single issue. There is the green leaf party that wants to legalize marijuana, the pensioners party that advocates for older folk, "Man's Rights in the Family" Party that campaigned pro-father and anti womens rights. Obviously a single issue party would be disastrous for the country if they actually won an election, but that is not the goal of single issue parties.

I would call these parties the anti-Feiglin, who we will get to in another post.

To understand this single issue phenomena, you have to understand how Israel's parliamentary system works. There are 120 seats in the Knesset and the government is formed by the party able to form a coalition of at least 61 seats. The party with the most seats gets the first chance to try and form a coalition, but doesn't always succeed. In the last election, Kadima had more seats then the Likud, but they wouldn't compromise on their positions so they could not build a coalition. The Likud was able to bring in a coalition of parties and formed the government.

Small parties, such as the Green Leaf only care about one thing. They are willing to be part of a right wing or left wing platform as long as their one issue is handled. Instead of getting all their members to join a single party and work their way up and try and change the party platform to support their issue they have an easier way. Run on a single issue, get 2 seats and announce that any ruling party that wants their 2 seats has to support their one goal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Education, Education, Education

I would say that the most important issue facing Israel today is that lack of education. Secular schools are not teaching Judaism and "ultra-orthodox" schools are not teaching the basic secular subjects needed to get a job in today's market. Both of these are absolutely necessary for the survival of Israel, whether as a secular-Jewish state or as a religious-Jewish state.

Secular Jews need to understand why they are here, what the importance of the country is to them as integral members of the Jewish people and what our historical and religious connection is to the place. They need to respect that the basis for the Jewish people in the land of Israel is based on the Torah and religious doctrine. Whether they choose to follow the laws or not, they need to be educated to respect this basic foundation.

"Ultra-orthodox" Jews need to understand that learning all day is not a profession. The kolel system is a modern invention that had its place in the early 1900s, when the landscape of Torah scholars was barren after the holocaust. It was never intended to become the norm, whereby people live there lives on tzedaka. If it is considered education, so that people can become teachers, it must be set up as an education track, which will get people in and out the door as fast as possible, earning a living. The Torah, mishna and gemara are full of warnings as to what will happen if you spend your life studying Torah and do not earn a living as well. In order to get a job to support your family, which is the basic obligation of the husband and father of a family, you must learn basic secular subjects.

Given a choice of any ministerial position, I would suggest taking the Education portfolio. We don't have to change the secular into Orthodox or the "ultra-orthodox" into secular, but we do need to give the next generation the tools to ensure the survival of Israel as a Jewish country.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bayit Yehudi Process

Primaries are underway for the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) political party. This post should have proceeded our endorsements, but things don't always get written that way.

During the last election, 4 years ago, the NRP (National Religious Party) changed its name to the Bayit Yehudi, and was supposed to be a merged with the National Union. That merge didn't happen and the national religious community punished the parties with a total of 7 seats. With a merged list, we are expecting much wider support and 10-12 seats in the coming Knesset.

One of the changes to the Bayit Yehudi in this coming election was the democratization of the party. Previously, joining the party and participating in formulating its policies was in the "old boys network" style. With the democratization, the public has awoken, and over 50,000 voters have paid 40 shekels (or 25 discounted for young members)  to become official voting members of the party. Everything is going to be voted on, including: local elections, central committee, knesset members and head of the party.

On Nov 6, the party members will choose a party head. There are 3 people running, Naftali Bennet, Zevulun Orlev and current head Rav Daniel Heshkovitz. We feel that all 3 candidates are highly qualified and have a lot to offer. We are backing Naftali Bennet for party head, as we feel that he has the energy to lead the party and the country to much needed change.

On Nov 13, we gather again for elections for everything else. This gives the newly elected leader 1 week to throw his support behind different ideas and give direction to the party so it is more clear who to vote for in the other votes.

Our village has 13 seats on the on the local board. The 250+ party members will choose those 13 candidates. The board will then choose who is on our list for city council. They will also determine direction and set goals for what we hope to accomplish locally.

We also have 4 seats on the central committee. The central committee determine direction and set goals for what we hope to accomplish nationally.

Finally, we are voting for the Knesset list. I believe there are 15 people on the list and the top 5 have a realistic chance of getting in. This is because we are expecting 10 seats and splitting them with the National Union representatives who are not chosen democratically by their party members.  We support Jeremy Gimpel for Knesset.

For the Knesset voting, each member has 5 votes. The 1st person on the list gets 4 points, 2nd person 2, and the last 3 people 1 each. The order of voting is very important and the 1st person on your list has 4 times the weight as the 3,4 and 5th person on your list. We recommend putting Jeremy first on your list and we don't really care who else gets in. They all seem to be highly quality people.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jeremy Gimpel

Jeremy Gimpel, from Ari and Jeremy (, stopped by to visit a couple days ago.

Jeremy is a candidate for a spot on the Bayit Yehudi list and has a realistic chance of getting in. He is backing Zevulun Orlev in his bid as party head. His reasoning:
"In the Bayit Yehudi/NRP, MK Orlev has the most experience, passed the most laws and has been the go to guy in the past. I love Naftali Bennet and only have respect for Rav Hershkovitz, but Naftali has never been a Knesset member before, and it would be good for him to be #2 for a term so he can learn where the bathrooms are in the Knesset before becoming party leader." 
Jeremy is a tanach (bible) buff and used the example of Moshe and Yehoshua, where Zevulun Orlev, a patriarch in the party, would show Naftali the ropes, giving him the experience needed to run the party in 4 years.

Rumors suggest that an additional reason for Jeremy's backing of MK Orlev was Orlev's decision to back him as well. While Bennet is backing 9 other candidates for the Knesset, Orlev is only backing 3. In the primaries, each voter can only vote for up to 5 people. A party leader who backs more then 5 people, has a watered down list, as none of them have his full support.

During our conversation, I did not hear one negative word about anybody. He praised the quality of all 3 candidates for party head, as well as the other candidates for the list. I feel that positive politics can only help us as a nation and a political party.

Jeremy has a deep connection to our village, as he has been helping the Bnei Menashe with funding and acclimation for the past number of years. This group of people, who may be of the remnants of one of the 10 lost tribes, came to Israel a few years ago and settled in our community.

We support Jeremy and highly recommend that all Bayit Yehudi members vote for him in the primaries.

Naftali Bennet

Last night Naftali Bennet came to speak at a chug bayit in our village. Naftali is one of the 3 candidates running for the head of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) political party. One of the things that most impressed me about his talk, was the lack of dirty politics. He had only nice things to say about the other 2 candidates, while presenting reasons why we should go with him. He also gave us the list of candidates he is supporting for the Knesset, but qualified that by saying that all of the candidates are very high caliber and he would be happy to work with any of them.

Most of his talk focused on the lack of political power that the national religious have in the country.In order to maximize our political power, he signed a unity agreement with the National Union which agrees to split the Knesset seats that we receive. Bayit Yehudi gets the first seat and National Union the 2nd and so on, National Union gets the first ministerial position. This means that if we receive an odd number of Knesset seats the Bayit Yehudi will have one more knesset member. If we have an odd number of ministers, National Union will take the extra one.

When the NRP (National Religious Party) turned into the Bayit Yehudi, one of the goals was to open it up to traditional Jews as well as practicing ones. One of the candidates for the Knesset on the party who Naftali recommended was Ayelet Shaked, who defines herself as non-religious, but is actually very traditional. I like the idea of having a more pluralistic party, but asked if party discipline would be enforced for religion-state issues? He answered that there would be, with a qualification that we are not Shas and not all decisions are made by a board of rabbis. Halachic decisions would be decided by the rabbis and political decisions would be decided by the central committee.

I liked what he had to say and I felt comfortable with his views.I am going to support Naftali Bennet in the Bayit Yehudi primaries.