JERUSALEM — The last three years have seen tremendous turmoil within the Israeli political system, with four inconclusive elections taking place and another election due on November 1st. The electorate is split between right-wing, pro-religious and pro-settlement elements and progressive, anti-religious and anti-chareidi elements who wish to turn Israel into a democratic, pluralistic state with no overt Jewish character.

The last government, established in Israel in June 2021, proved just how costly and devastating a left-wing, anti-Chareidi government can be even if it only numbers 61 MKs. Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman did everything possible to make life difficult for chareidim, from targeted changes in child care subsidies to huge taxes on plastic and sweet beverages (but not vodka, the stable of his own constituents). Transport Minister Michaeli sought to extend Shabbos desecration in public transit services and other ministers authorized laws which discriminate against chareidi residents. The judiciary continued its hostile approach to religious beliefs and requirements.

In such a situation, with every vote possibly deciding between two vastly different approaches, one would expect every chareidi who has the right to vote to exercise that right [barring rabbinic prohibitions] and determine the course of Israel’s government for the next four years.

Yet despite this, new polls show that 12% of the chareidi electorate do not intend to vote in the coming election, representing close to two Knesset seats which could tip the election towards the right.

The electoral shunners are comprised both of groups who do not intend to vote for ideological reasons, such as the Jerusalem Faction and Eda Chareidis, but also of many disgruntled voters who are dissatisfied with the chareidi representatives. It is this latter group which could prove costly both to the chareidi parties and to the entire right-wing in Israel.

Politics is not the art of finding the ideal representative. One does not marry one’s party, one votes for those who can prevent damage – sometimes serious damage – being caused to one’s interests. There is no ideal politician. Most need to cut deals and compromises, make outrageous statements, snuff out opposition and find dubious legal loopholes. Hashem, of course, runs the world.  But in the long run, in terms of our hishtadlus, involvement in politics and voting is how chareidim will be able to maintain their lifestyle and prosper in the coming years in Israel. The fate of the yeshivos, the fate of seminaries, the fate of kollelim and young families is now in the balance. Who would want to be responsible for a negative, hostile, anti-chareidi government taking power once again in Israel?

As reported by VINnews