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.

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