Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Kislev 5766 - December 7, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: Warning: Shinui No. 2

by E. Rauchberger

Ariel Sharon's new Kadima Party executed an acquisition that could prove very dangerous to the chareidi public, when it put forward Prof. Uriel Reichman as the party's candidate for education minister in the next government. Reichman would also be involved in plans by Sharon and Kadima to bring to Israel a presidential government based on electoral voting.

Reichman founded Shinui over 20 years ago, served as chairman of the Shinui Council until two weeks ago and is considered the party's most important figure after Lapid and Poraz. He was elected council chairman with a tremendous majority, which points to his popularity within Shinui and his devotion to the party platform.

Reichman made Lapid who he is today. During the 1999 elections Shinui left Meretz to form an independent party headed by Avraham Poraz. Shinui's other MK at the time, Amnon Rubinstein, stayed with Meretz.

Poraz, who has a drab, uninspiring personality, realized he needed a charismatic figure to prevent Shinui from turning into a flash-in-the-pan party and it was Reichman who proposed bringing in Tommi Lapid and positioning him at the top of the Shinui list. Both Poraz and Lapid jumped at the idea and the rest is history.

The scheme to bring in Lapid did not just pop into Reichman's head. He searched and found a man to his liking, a man who would place antipathy for chareidim at the top of the public agenda, ranting against the chareidi "threat" and chareidi "extortion." Apparently Reichman and Lapid shared an identical world view.

For those who do not recall, Reichman also headed the Chuka LeYisrael movement, which led a public outcry 13 years ago against the election system and caused the Knesset to legislate a law for the direct prime ministerial elections. The primary objective of the law was to "stop" the chareidim, i.e. to minimize the rising influence of chareidi parties and their burgeoning political power. The campaign for a change in the voting system was accompanied by an anti-religious crusade filled with unbridled incitement against the chareidi public, blaming the chareidim for every ailment that plagued the State and Israeli society.

In the end the Direct Election Law did not help the efforts by Reichman & Co. to undermine chareidi political power, and after three election campaigns the Knesset was forced to rescind the law.

This is Uriel Reichman in a nutshell. Anti-religious and bent against the chareidi public with every bone in his body. Just like Tommi Lapid and perhaps even more virulent, for Tommi Lapid has a big mouth and sometimes a dog's bark is worse than his bite.

As education minister he would invariably work to make Israel's youth even more secular than they are today, trying to distance them even further from Judaism and Jewish tradition. Reichman in the Education Ministry would be at least as bad as Yossi Sarid or Shulamit Aloni in the Education Ministry.

Reichman also has a loyal partner close to Ariel Sharon: Kadima's advisor Ayal Arad, who was also a proponent of Reichman's Chuka LeYisrael campaign and the Direct Elections Law, and shares Reichman and Shinui's views on religious issues.

The boss of Kadima, Omri Sharon, also shares their view of religious issues. If he were not his father's son he could have been counted on to vote Shinui.

At this rate Kadima is on its way to becoming a second Shinui.

Likud Left Out of the Celebrations

Various different political figures are streaming into the Labor Party and Kadima, from a well-known radio personality to prominent professors and ranking figures in the Civil Service and at local authorities.

Only the Likud has been left cast off to the side, forlorn and abandoned. One of the reasons nobody is joining the party is that who will lead it remains unknown since the party chairman will not be selected for several weeks.

But this is obviously just an excuse. The main reason is the opinion polls, which predict the Likud Party could receive as few as 10 mandates.

Meanwhile Labor and Kadima have been announcing their ministerial candidates for the next elections—Reichman as education minister under Sharon and Tamir as education minister under Peretz, Olmert as finance minister under Sharon and Braverman as finance minister under Peretz—as if both parties know they will be slicing up the pie after the elections by setting up a unity government, leaving the Likud totally out of the picture. After all with just 10 mandates, who needs them when there are no-worse alternatives such as Shas (which the same poll has winning 11 mandates)?

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