Ayalet! Stop Gevalting!

Tzvi Fishman,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman is a recipient of the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. His many novels and books on a variety of Jewish themes are available at Amazon Books. Recently, he has published "Arise and Shine!" and "The Lion's Roar" - 2 sequels to his popular novel, "Tevye in the Promised Land." In Israel, the Tevye trilogy is distributed by Sifriyat Bet-El Publishing. He is also the director and producer of the feature film, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman," starring Israel's popular actor, Yehuda Barkan. www.tzvifishmanbooks.com ...

Ayalet! Stop Gevalting!

For several days now, Ayalet Shaked has been blaming others for the Yemina Party’s worsening situation. However, as leader of the party, she must place at least some of the blame on herself. Her first misjudgment was in demanding that she be Number One on the list. The very fact that a non-observant person was chosen to lead the Religious Zionist community immediately alienated thousands of voters, causing them to search for a party more in line with their religious values and beliefs. After all, a party leader represents the values of the party and its constituents. Many retorted that Shaked wasn’t going to be the leader of the Jewish Home and National Union, and that Rav Rafi Peretz and Bezelel Smotrich would faithfully guard the Torah foundations of Religious Zionism. They assured us that the union, and putting Ayalet Shaked in the lead, was merely a technical move to gain votes. Thus it came to pass that a national religious political hybrid was created with a non-religious person at its helm – in effect a Likud with more Rabbis. Shaked became the party’s main spokesperson, assuming the most commanding position in the election campaign.

Some people maintain, what’s the big deal? In doing so, they either dismiss the feelings of hardline religious voters, or believe that Shaked in the lead position will attract more voters. But whether you agree with the hardliners or not, there are mothers and fathers who, for example, try to educate their daughters to value the laws of modest dress. Their job is not made easier when the popular star of the national religious party doesn’t always adhere to that style. Petty? Perhaps. But these parents are certainly entitled to their beliefs.

To be fair, the blame is not completely Mrs. Shaked’s. Rav Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich, and all of their advisors, should never have agreed to make Shaked the leader of the camp. They let voter surveys and numbers interfere with their better judgment and values, and with the very correct things they said when Ayalet Shaked and Naftali Bennett deserted the teetering Jewish Home vessel just months before. This zigzag caused many Religious Zionist voters to flee.

Shaked’s second failure was in not bringing the Otzma Yehudit Party into the union on the Right. In effect, this is what is now causing the hysteria about wasting votes. Whatever caused the fashla, and whether Ben Gvir was offered the fourth, fifth, or eighth position on the list, is no longer of concern. It may very well be that no one in Yemina truly wanted the controversial Kahanists in their ship of compromise, but as leader of the ship, it was Shaked’s responsibility to make the merger happen. To place all the blame on Otzma Yehudit, and to now proclaim that their stubbornness in not dropping out of the race will bring a victory for the Left, ignores her own part in the fiasco.

As the election approached, Shaked adopted Bibi’s famous “Gevalt!” campaign, proclaiming that without a two-figure Yemina, all will be lost. She blames Netanyahu for stealing her party’s voters. Once again, if Yemina is losing its voters, as head of the party, it is her duty to make an honest self-appraisal. A wife is justified in being angry if her husband betrays her, but at the same time she should look at herself to see if part of the fault lies with her. “Bibi personally hates me,” she now exclaims. If true, that is indeed a sorrowful situation. What benefit is it to the Religious Zionist community if Benjamin Netanyahu, whether he wins or shares the next government with Gantz, personally hates the political leader who represents the interests of the settlement camp?

Indeed, the situation merits a “gevalt!” If Yemina doesn’t win the number of seats in line with its potential, Ayalet Shaked has only herself to blame. But not everything will be lost. In the next elections, to return straying voters to the party, all Ayalet Shaked has to do is to demonstrate real selfless leadership for the welfare of the nation and step down as Number One on the list. Hand the reigns back to Rav Rafi and Smotrich. That way, the national religious party will be represented by national religious leaders, and the thousands of thick-necked hardliners will be appeased and come home.