Feb 4, 2008

UTJ gives up local Haredim in Bet Shemesh to support the kannoim

I remember 4+ years ago. It was the days/weeks leading up to the local municipal elections. There were the typical debates and fights going on - Shas or UTJ? Likud or Mafdal? UTJ or Mafdal? UTJ or Chen (a new party at the time)? Chen or Likud? etc..

Aside from those regular voting dilemmas, there was another dilemma, a bit more unusual.

The community of those rejecting participation had grown by then. They were living Jerusalem because of lack of affrodable apartments available and they were starting to settle in Bet Shemesh. They were a community made up of members of Satmar, the Eidah Chareidis, and the more extreme Neturei Karta.

They put out these booklets in the form of a children s book. The book was about a father and son talking. The father was telling the son all the evils the Zionists had ever done and why it is prohibited to vote in elections, and to take part in any form of Zionist government in Israel.

They spread the book all over the city along with their regular posting of signs and pashkevilim calling anybody who votes to be a rasha and the like. I do not know how many people did not vote because of those signs and booklets, but that is not the point.

Yesterday there was a full meeting in the BS Municipality. Under discussion was a proposal for granting land requests to various communities for them to build shuls upon. Most of the shuls under discussion were reportedly shuls within the Haredi community. The list included a request for land for the kannoim to build a shul upon for their community.

The requests were originally supposed to be dealt with each separately and voted upon separately. The representative of UTJ - specifically the Degel HaTorah division, felt that the plot for the kannoim had no chance of passing the vote, so he decided to bundle all the plots into one request. he figured that by doing that, the general vote would pass and the kannoim would get their plot as well by piggybacking on the others.

The Moatza refused to accept the bundle of plots for voting. They insisted that as long as the plot for the kannoim was included in the bundle, no vote would be held. The Degell/Gimmel representative refused to remove the plot from the bundle and the vote was held up, as the request was forced to be withdrawn.

The result of this is that the representative of the Haredi communities refused to submit requests on behalf of many shuls that are counting on him to work on their behalf. These are people who voted for UTJ and elected him (as part of the party) to represent them in City Hall. Yet he is not helping them - he is passing them up in order to help the kannoim. While many shuls continue to suffer renting small apartments or storefronts and are waiting for their representative to fight for them to get plots, their representative has turned his back on them on behalf of the kannoim who do not vote for him or for anyone else.

I am told that a representative from Likud, a frum fellow living in RBS who is Dati Leumi, has said that he is considering putting forth the request on behalf of some of the shuls because he feels bad for them and he knows they need the allotments.

Now, some people will say that once a person is elected either to national government or to local government, he should not limit himself to helping only those within his constituency, but he should try to help everybody. I would even agree with that. That is why in general I am against all these small, one issue parties participating in elections and government. I am a fan of the big party, two party system.

However, first of all, the small parties that make it into government, should help others, but never to the detriment of their own people. They have to be concerned first and foremost with their constituents - partly because if they are not they have no power base and will not get voted in again, but also because that is who put them in government and they should be looking out for their needs.

Second, if he along with UTJ is so concerned about helping other communities that do not vote for him/them, I do not remember when he last helped Dati Leumi people get what they need. I do not remember him fighting valiantly for the needs of the secular community. How concerned is he really with helping others and not just his own constituents? Or is it only the kannoim that he is willing to help, even to the detriment of his own supporters???

The only thing I do not understand is why he does this... What is it about the kannoim that makes him feel he has to help them even when it means hurting his own community.. They will not provide him with votes in future elections or power. So what motivates him?


  1. I think that since the kanoim do live in the greater Bet Shemesh area they should get their own land and shul. However, I also think they should be put into herem. That means do not sell them anything, hire them, or give them aliyot. Let them have their own shul and financially support themselves.

  2. when they baught their apartments the city got nice taxes from them (as from everyone else who bought apartments)
    they all pay arnona (even if most pay with a reduction, there are plenty believe it or not that work and pay full arnona)
    they want to build shuls like everyone else and the city constantly turns thei back on them.
    there is a lot of inside politics as far as giving them lands. and they don't take money from the government to build.
    no one is helping them. what is your idea to help them? or do you just think that since they don't vote they are not entitled to anything? besides the taxes and arnona that they pay they also spend money buying locally thereby helping the beit shemesh economy.

  3. oops- i forgot to write about that, but I did touch on it. I have no problem with him helping them get what they need, in general. but not if it is going to cause problems for the natural supporters of UTJ. He is obligated first and foremost to his constituents. After that he can help others as much as he sees possible.

    For example, in the case of the land allotments that this post post discusses, he should not have forced the issues to be bundled together, which caused him to drop the request for his natural supporters.

    he should have pushed the requests for his constituents and then fought as hard as he could, separately, for the needs of the kannoim.

    I have no problem with him helping them. The problem is only when he helps them to the detriment of his constituents. Why should they lose because he wants to be a nice guy to someone else. They are the ones who voted him into office, and his job is first and foremost to represent them.

  4. apparently you haven't read enough of the chareidi history books.
    in the chareidi world, the Netzigim (as they are called) are in politics to represent the gedoylei hador and the reabanim. their job is to work for yiddishkeit. (people vote for them only to give them the power to represent daas torah)
    therefore what is best for their constituents is determined by what their senders (the Gedolim and local rabbanim recognized by the gedolim as being the local leaders of the masses) feel is best for yiddishkeit.
    for example (hypothetically) if all the degel hatorah voters were in favor of building the meaar and only the gedolim and local rabbanim were against it, the netzigim would have the responsibility to fight against the meaar despite the opinions of thos that voted them in


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