Mar 29, 2012

The Problem With Defining Livni As Anti-Haredi and Mofaz As Pro-Haredi

When Tzippi Livni was defeated by Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima primary on Tuesday, the first reaction publicized was that of UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, along with Yisroel Eichler. Gafni said that the Kadima voters rejected Livni's anti-haredi rhetoric.

In a Ynet article about haredim gloating over Livni's loss, a UTJ "source" explained that "it isn't gloating or hitting someone when they're down, it is sending a message with a lesson to every rookie politician who adopts a dialogue of hate against the haredi public – it isn't worth your while. It may make a great media slogan, but the public does not accept it, and yesterday, Kadima voters proved they don't either.

"The Shinui party had a single anti-haredi agenda and went from 15 mandates to complete collapse and disappeared completely – parties that follow that path will share the same fate," he said. "Mofaz won't be voting for United torah Judaism, he won't be joining the Council of Torah Sages, but his agenda is different and more mature. He chose a different approach and attitude."

I am not going to defend Tzippi Livni. I am happy she lost, as I did not like her style of politics. I dont think Shaul Mofaz is going anywhere either, which is why I consider the Kadima primary to have been fairly insignificant. I would point out that any such gloating is a bit premature. I am fairly confident that even if Tzippi Livni is anti-haredi, which I am not sure is true, the Kadima voters rejected her for a combination of reasons and issues about her that they did not agree with. Boiling it down to one idea is probably an extreme oversimplification and does not so anybody justice. I am sure that most people were not even thinking about her stance regarding haredim when they made their decision for whom  to vote.

Gafni's statement is, again, indicative of a trend to attack anybody who opposes the UTJ agenda as being anti-haredi. I am not sure the two go hand in hand. Somebody can not agree with UTJ and still not hate haredim.

I also think UTJ, if Gafni's statement is any indication of what they think of Mofaz in relation to what they thought of Livni, is fooling itself f they think Livni was anti and Mofaz will be pro. Again, aligning votes for or against UTJ does not indicate anti-haredi sentiments or pro-haredi sentiments. It simply indicates what they party believes should be done on a specific issue for, hopefully, the good of the country.

However, thinking Livni was anti and Mofaz is pro is ignoring the fact that Shaul Mofaz opposed the Tal Law, which UTJ now considers as a sign of being anti-haredi. As well, one of the first things said by Shaul Mofaz after his electoral victory was that he will lead the social justice battle this coming summer. One of the major parts of the social justice protests has been equality of serving in the army, i.e. that haredim should be drafted into the army.

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