Yitzhak Nachshoni
Yitzhak Nachshoni
Photo: Twitter
L-R: Aryeh Deri, Moshe Gafni, Yaakov Litzman, Benjamin Netanyahu

The ultra-Orthodox must prevent another election

Opinion: The looming third national ballot signals a chance for the Haredi leadership to protect the interests of its community above all else, like thwarting public transport on Shabbat, even if it means abandoning a long standing alliance with Netanyahu

Yitzhak Nachshoni |
Updated: 12.11.19 , 18:27
With just hours left until the apparently inevitable dissolution of the Knesset and a third round of elections, now is the time for the ultra-Orthodox leadership to step up and unite the right-wing bloc.
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  • Throughout this whole turbulent period, the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox tried their best to elevate and support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while keeping the issues most important to them and the ultra-Orthodox community out of the political debate.
    right wing right wing
    L-R: Aryeh Deri, Moshe Gafni, Yaakov Litzman, Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Reuters, Yoav Dudkevitch, Alex Kolomoisky)
    Thanks to political stagnation that has an undeniable connection to Netanyahu's legal woes, Israel now faces an alarming change to the long established status quo, such as allowing public transportation to operate on the Shabbat.
    Such substantial changes to the very fabric of Israeli society are definite proof that ultra-Orthodox leaders and their communities need to come together, put their differences aside, show real leadership and unite for the greater good of Israel.
    According to recent polling data, the ultra-Orthodox community has nothing to worry about in an upcoming election, receiving the same number of votes - and perhaps even more thanks to the apparent weakening of the Likud.
    But as we learned in the past, the number of votes means nothing if they can't be used to benefit the voters.
    The outcome of the looming election for the right-wing bloc is not expected to be very different to the last two rounds, and on the off chance it actually does secure 61 Knesset seats, you can bet that the Supreme Court won't let Netanyahu lead the next government.
    So why don't the bloc's voters deny the Supreme Court the pleasure of dictating their future?
    It would mean averting potential violence in the streets, saving a lot of money - millions of shekels - in election funding that could be spent where it is truly needed.
    All it takes is some initiative from ultra-Orthodox leaders such as Aryeh Deri, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Litzman to bring other leaders from the religious right-wing bloc to the fold, and together inject some order into the absolute chaos that the Israeli election system has become.
    Given Netanyahu's reluctance to release the reins of the Likud to someone else, and his political partners' unwillingness or inability to convince him to do so for the sake of the country, the best bet is a unity government in which Netanyahu spends the first two years fighting to clear his name.
    Any other scenario would most certainly result in the right-wing losing the election, and then Netanyahu won't be the only one to suffer.
    To their credit, the ultra-Orthodox representatives in Netanyahu's government managed to accrue a substantial number of achievements during his term as prime minister and now it's in their hands to decide whether it was all in vain or whether they are on the cusp of their biggest achievement yet.
    First published: 15:10 , 12.11.19
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