Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini
Settlers protesting violence against soldiers by extremists

As the people take to the streets, the religious right must make its voice heard

Opinion: The left has no monopoly over the fight against corruption and the call for better leadership, driven by high moral standards, should come from the religious Zionist camp as well

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 08.03.20 , 23:32
As expected, the demonstrations against the government have turned into a slugfest. Like in every other public protest, anyone can join - including radical elements.
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  • But there is one sector still missing from this mosaic although it should and must also partake. In fact, this sector should be leading the charge based on its Zionist, national and moral values – the religious Zionist right.
    הפגנה נגד אלימות ביצהרהפגנה נגד אלימות ביצהר
    Settlers protesting violence against soldiers by extremists
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    There are signs of discomfort emanating from members of this voting sector. Public opinion polls show support is declining for the ruling Likud party while Naftali Bennett's New Right party seems to be gaining momentum.
    Though polls should be taken with a grain of salt, they are an indication of the public's inclination.
    The ultra-Orthodox leadership has always stayed clear of all national and moral debate and while their own constituents have shown an increasing interest in the questions vexing the rest of the country, those at the top remain uninterested.
    In contrast, the religious Zionist public is entrenched in Israeli society and can be found among the leadership of the military, judiciary, and government.
    Corruption matters to religious Zionist voters, high moral standards do too.
    הפגנה בתל אביבהפגנה בתל אביב
    A protester holds the Israeli flag in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    For the most part, these voters are firmly on the right side of the political map but being right-wing does not automatically include indifference in the face of corrupt leadership.
    The religious Zionist public has stayed away from the protests calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because the demonstrations appear left-leaning.
    The left is in fact represented in the protests, but it is not the only voice heard or even the loudest. Most demonstrators can be found to represent centrist views as the abundance of Israeli flags in the events show.
    Demonstrators are not protesting annexation or the Trump peace plan. They are not shouting for or against the settlements. They are out on the streets calling for a better society. They are vying for change.
    There is an opportunity to choose between a leader that operates exhibiting cynicism and gluttony, and a leadership motivated by responsibility and moral behavior.
    הפגנת הדגלים השחורים במשה דייןהפגנת הדגלים השחורים במשה דיין
    A banner placed near the private home of Prime Minister Netanyahu in Cesarea alluding to his alleged corruption in defense spending
    (צילום: מחאת הדגלים השחורים)
    So why should the religious Zionist voters keep away? Why should they leave the field to others?
    The Israeli left has no monopoly on the fight against corruption. Corrupt people can be found all across the political spectrum. It is time to see Netanyahu and his followers for what they are - a prime minister who was indicted for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust surrounded by supporters who admit they seek power and money, as admitted by MK Miki Zohar, Likud's parliamentary whip who claimed power, money, and respect were motivations for his political carrier.
    הפגנה מול מעון רה"מ בירושליםהפגנה מול מעון רה"מ בירושלים
    Protesters demonstrate outside the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Satview)
    Members of the religious Zionist public can bring much to the demonstrations; they are not traditionally opposed to Netanyahu and can save him from humiliation by urging his quiet resignation.
    This is a sector of Israel's population that should be front and center in the call for a better country and has a legitimate place among all other demonstrators.
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