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Photo: Gil Yohanan
Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Not an intentional revolution, plan or plot
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yoaz Hendel
National-religious revolution is completed
Op-ed: Israel's new police chief, Roni Alsheich, joins a long list of senior appointments in politics, in the government, in the defense establishment and in the media of people who were raised in the Religious Zionism movement, controlling the direction of Israel.
If there is a revolution, it has been completed. The national-religious Jews are already here. The new police chief, Roni Alsheich, completes a long series of senior appointments in politics, in the government, in the defense establishment and in the media of people who were raised in the Religious Zionism movement.

 

 

According to a media critic for Haaretz newspaper, Israel's leading media outlets are also being dominated by settler religious Jews. According to his list, I am one of them (although I don’t wear a skullcap and don’t live in a settlement).

 

The question which was asked only several years ago about the appointment of Yaakov Amidror as head of the National Security Council - how and will he pick up the phone on Shabbat - is no longer relevant. Because "everyone" has a religious background and telephone calls on Shabbat.

 

If there is a revolution, it's bigger than it seems at first sight by superficially looking at a person's head. It could also include the "disguised religious Jews": Yossi Cohen, the current head of the National Security Council, who may be appointed head of the Mossad; Eyal Yinon, the Knesset's legal advisor, who has been nominated for the position of attorney general, alongside Ran Nizri, Yishai Beer, Avichai Mandelblit and others; State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan; Herzi Halevi, head of the Military Intelligence Directorate; three regular division commanders; writers and intellectuals, journalists and editors. They all grew up in the Religious Zionism movement.

 

Police chief nominee, Roni Alsheich. Something succeeded in this education, which created people who want to make a difference (Photo: Yariv Katz)
Police chief nominee, Roni Alsheich. Something succeeded in this education, which created people who want to make a difference (Photo: Yariv Katz)

 

If there is a revolution, it has even reached the extreme Israeli left, represented by people like Avraham Burg, Dror Etkes and Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, as well as the Zionist left of Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), a religious education graduate, and the center of Elazar Stern, Shai Piron and Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid).

 

Those fighting for and against the status quo in religion and state relations come mainly from Religious Zionism. The margins of the law-breaking settlers such as the Hilltop Youth, and those fighting them in the Shin Bet's Jewish division, in the Civil Administration and in the State Prosecutor's Office.

 

If there is a revolution, it has been completed. The army is already dominated in the ground ranks, the Shin Bet with its religious chief, Yoram Cohen, and his religious deputy who is set to become the police commissioner, the Prime Minister's Office is filled with people in skullcaps, and even the Likud - the ruling party - is controlled by them.

 

It's not just Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the religious-Zionist party he rehabilitated, it's not just the "chardalim" (national haredim) who make noise, and not just the military preparatory programs which produce plenty of elite unit fighters and officers. Raise your heads, on the right and on the left, and you'll see them everywhere. It's not an intentional revolution, not a plan or a plot, but the forces of nature, physics for beginners: The rule says that wherever there is a void, others enter.

 

There isn’t one Religious Zionism, there are a few - liberals and conservatives, moderates and hagglers, rightists and very few leftists. What they all have in common is their growth course. Something must have worked very well in the education which I went through too, fought against and was emitted from. Something succeeded in this way, which created people who want to make a difference.

 

Today's Religious Zionism is a product of an all-Israeli process, in which the Zionist left lost the collective. The togetherness with which it built and led the State. While the Zionist center, which became the biggest in the Israeli map, lost the ability to translate it into political power. Both are comprised of excellent people. They go to reserve service, pay taxes, care for the State's future. Together, they are failing - repeatedly - to do anything.

 

At the same time, a process was created in which part of the secular right has turned from a Jabotinsky-style and Begin-style leadership into a Miri Regev-style leadership. The Zionist religious people entered this void: They make up only 12 percent of the population, but have a much greater influence. A historical reminder of the "labor settlement" (Hahityashvut Haovedet) upon the State's inception.

 

But this reality comes with a certain responsibility. It's time to stop whining - they did this and that to us. It's time to stop talking about Mapai's failures and about the leftist media which decides everything here. The reins are in the hands of those who are prepared to take them.

 

Now the question is what should be done with these reins. It's time for Religious Zionism to set the political discourse in the right instead of all kinds of harmful phenomena like right-wing rapper The Shadow, Beitar Jerusalem's supporters' group La Familia and anti-assimilation fringe group Lehava. It's time to look around, be proud and feel the weight on the shoulders. Israel's Jewish and democratic nature, the role of the gatekeepers and the legal system, are on Religious Zionism's shoulders.

 


First published: 09.29.15, 15:58
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