Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Question to Religious Zionists

Now that the Jerusalem elections are over and Nir Barkat has been elected as mayor with the help and support of an overwhelming majority of religious Zionists, my question to these religious Zionists(RZ) is why did you vote for him?

Almost all my RZ friends ( I am also a crotched kippa wearer) voted for Barkat because he was secular and they shuddered at the thought of voting for a Chareidi candidate. Why? What is behind this fear of the Chareidim? As someone who 1- has a lot of Chareidi family and 2-does a lot of volunteer work in the Chareidi sector, there is nothing to be afraid of. They are just like us. They face the same issues of raising their families, education issues, etc. that we do. So many will respond 'yeh, but they don't work and don't serve in the army.' Well the fact is that many of them do work, and last time I was in North Tel-Aviv there were a ton of army aged teenagers loitering around doing nothing but sipping lattes. After all it's become fashionable for secular Israeli kids not to serve in the IDF. Additionally, it has become widespread for RZ kids to stay in Yeshiva and keep on learning after Hesder is over being supported by their parents.

Correct me if I'm wrong but for religious Jews of all stripes the army isn't the end all. I always thought that the keeping Torah and Mitzvos and not wanting to give away the Land of Israel were the most important aspects of our religion. The fact is that because we share a common Torah, we have much more in common with Chariedim than we do with the secular.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of 'can't we all just get along,' but in this case it just kills me that we can't. We have a common base (i.e. the Torah) that should automatically bring us together. Take a minute and speak with a Chareidi, and I'll bet you will find that he won't bite, and that you have a lot in common. Much more in common that you have with someone from Ramat Aviv Gimmel.


Zamerit Capital said...

sorry, aaron, but i don't think that the religious zionist vote for Barkat was an anti-charedi vote. There were a couple of issues that were extremely important to me (and I assume others like me) including education and jobs. With little information and record on how each of the candidates would succeed in these fields, I voted for someone more in-line with my outlook. The sad part for me is that I feel like I have more in common with a secular Israeli than Meir Porush.

Aaron Katsman said...

i wasn't reffering to people voting for one candidate or another based on issues. It's just that those who voted solely becuase "i can't for for a Chareidi" is what I was talking about being sad.
Alos i am not saying that teh Chareidim are perfect and without's just that since we share a torah, we should be able to get along

yael said...

I don't agree with most of your blog. It for sure is sad that we don't have more of a common ground as God fearing Jews, but I would unfortunately tend to agree more with the guy that left u a comment - zamerit capital about my day to day goals being closer ON a PRACTICAL LEVEL to a secular Israeli than Meir Porush

Aaron Katsman said...

Yael- thanks for reading the point is that don't you think it's sad that you don't feel that younhave anything in common with Porush?

Commenter Abbi said...

The reasons rz support the secular more than the charedi are two fold:

1) While you might have seen some out of work post army kids lounging around TA (though you can never tell, I find many Israeli men of all ages lounging around cafes most of the day.) charedim make an ideology of not working. It is better not to work. Working is bedieved. So, while we share a belief in Torah, we certainly don't share a belief in not working.

2) Charedim look down on RZ. Why would RZ support a candidate that fundamentally, deep in his heart, look down on our ideology and way of living? Charedim, while they might engage in much chesed like Yad Sarah, generally think that there way is the only way. Secular people generally have varying degrees of tolerance for different beliefs because this is a westren ideal.

3) Charedi political parties are there to support the charedi community. Historically, charedi parties exist to grab as much money for charedi educational institutions and welfare subsidies. So while Porush might have made lots of promises that sound nice to RZ voters, why would they believe him? Especially after the string bridge fiasco, when the charedi deputy mayor made the dancers put on potato sacks and stocking hats out of concern for "tzniut". That certainly doesn't match my idea of tzniut.

So, yes it's sad that many RZ felt they couldn't support a Torah observing Jew for office. But there are many legitimate reasons for this belief.

Safranit said...

Lets see, I guess that I voted for Barkat as a RZ because I don't think he truly has all of Jerusalem in his mind...his little speech in Yiddish confirmed it.

I also feel that Barkat fought a cleaner campaign and that his "business mentality" is what Jerusalem needs.