5 thoughts after the closing of party lists
ביממה שבה כולם מדברים על תמונות בסלון, זו התמונה בסלון ביתנו
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

  1. Religious Zionists deserve more. This is a glorious sector which, like the others, is not without problems, but the awkward circus we have witnessed does not do it justice. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens got up in the morning with a bitter taste in their mouths. They know full well that things could and should have been otherwise.
  2. Politics is a profession. It’s a skill. It’s a combination of charisma and vision, combined with political savvy and artful communication, together with the ability to turn an agenda into law through negotiations, compromises, and agreements. Enough of innocence. It’s impossible to parachute into this world as a rabbi or a journalist merely because you have succeeded or earned acclaim in a particular area of endeavor. If we are going strictly by likeability and popularity in the religious Zionist sector, we should have put Ishay Ribo at the top of the list.
  3. Most religious Zionists do not identify with Itamar Ben Gvir at all, but they also do not identify with a culture that violates signed agreements. Whoever was looking for unity in the religious Zionist sector will finally find it in the collective anger at the chairman of The Jewish Home party and the conduct overall that was displayed. After the party’s last minute merger, the quick retreat of Rav Rafi Peretz to his home will likely result in more votes for the merged parties.
  4. Netanyahu always broadcasts hunger, but the right-wing has long been satisfied, even sated after many years in control, ensconced in the system as part of the majority. The worn out expression “fire in the hole” testifies to the fact that all of the right’s awesome energy has long been directed towards itself, on the inside. A group of people have been struggling internally on how to divide control of the government but have forgotten that they need to win the elections first.
  5. Most important: while the party lists were signed and sealed on Wednesday night, the fate of religious Zionism was not. Politics is only one arena, important but limited. So much is happening outside the walls of the Knesset and so much more needs to happen: How will the Jewish people ultimately look now that they have returned to their land? What is the goal, what is the mission, what will it take for a flash of lightning to appear in our eyes?

Especially now, while the public in every sector thirsts for its traditions – as seen from radio playlists to Torah classes – religious Zionism withdraws into itself like a snail into its shell with endless internal disputes.

Especially now, when most of our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora are on the verge of assimilation and disappearance, religious Zionism speaks about sovereignty and judicial activism (although the last time I checked, this was not the mandate we received on Mount Sinai).

And if we may return for a moment to Ishay Ribo: without any laws or government backing, he influences and educates and enlightens more than any legislative proposal. We have been waiting 2000 years to hear truly life-changing news in areas that really matter – our culture, our traditions, and our spiritual longings. We deserve more.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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