Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


A Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Opinion & Comment
They Are All the Same

We have said many times that there is not much difference for us between the various candidates for Prime Minister. We will vote for one, but no secular politician can be in any important sense acceptable to us; our task is just to decide which is the least bad.

Our measure of what is good for the Jews vis-a-vis Israeli secular politicians focuses on what is good for Judaism. From this perspective, anyone who is not deeply committed to Torah must be found wanting.

All the major candidates are very far from Torah commitment. Not only do they lack commitment to Torah, they hardly know what it is. Unlike earlier generations, the secular leaders of today -- even those in Israel -- had basically a Western education and they are steeped more thoroughly in Shakespeare than the Shloh. Most do not even have more than a rudimentary familiarity with Jewish laws and customs, and no knowledge at all of the major Torah works. Their reactions and decisions are founded not in the Jewish tradition but in non-Jewish culture. How can we feel good about letting such people run the Jewish State?

If Israeli politicians have always looked the same to us, it seems that this perspective is becoming much more general. The two big parties -- and even the centrist-party-in- formation -- are so similar that modern politicians can go wherever they get a better deal.

When he left the IDF, Yitzchak Mordechai, the popular Minister of Security in Netanyahu's Likud government, was courted by Labor as well. Lately he has said that he is considering his next steps, and this is widely understood to mean that he is considering joining either Labor or the Centrist Party. David Levy, former Foreign Minister in Netanyahu's government and a lifelong Likud member, is the subject of widely believed rumors about a possible deal with Labor leader Ehud Barak, and it is clear that he would join the centrist party without hesitation if they offered him a better deal.

The Likud of today includes members in good standing who insist on a greater Israel, as well as supporters of the Oslo Agreements, the Wye Memorandum, and withdrawal from most of Yehuda and Shomron. There are champions of the poor and lobbyists for the rich. Labor is no more ideologically pure. Politicians of all stripes call it home.

There is, of course, still a Right and a Left in Israeli politics, but they are marginalized. Benny Begin or the Moledet Party are not serious candidates from the Right, and neither are Yossi Sarid and Meretz on the Left.

Everything has broken down in Israel. There is no more ideology and no more ideals. The bitter political campaigns are really just about who will be first and who second. The success of one side does not mean the choice by the people of a particular idea, but rather that one or another group of foreign media advisors has prevailed. From the perspective of the politicians as well as from ours, the only difference is the image they project to the media. They are really all the same.

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