Feb 14, 2019

people who don't feel represented by the Haredi parties will go elsewhere

There seems to be a trend, a worrying trend for some, of members of the Haredi community not just choosing to vote for other parties, as has been happening at an increasing rate in the past decade, but choosing to run as candidates under the banner of other parties.

This is especially true of female candidates. Michal Chernowitzky recently ran in the primaries of the Labor party. She achieved a spot on the party list that is presumed unrealistic for the Knesset. Adina Bar Shalom formed her own party.

Today Omer Yankelevitch was announced to be taking the 10th spot in Benny Gantz's Chosen LeYisrael party. Yankelevitch is a Haredi lawyer, a graduate of Gateshead Seminary and the Wolff Seminary in Bnei Braq. Yankelevitch lives in Bet Shemesh and bears an impressive resume of degrees and accomplishments. And the 10th spot in Chosen Leyisrael is presumed to be realistic under any scenario, which will likely make her the first ever Haredi MK. Sort of. Years ago there was an MK with the Meretz party named Tzvia Greenfield - she was Haredi and lived in Har Nof, though many considered her not really Haredi because of the policies and organizations she supported and was involved in.

In recent elections there were Haredi women running and campaigning for other parties, such as Habayit Hayehudi, the nascent Haredi women's party (bzchutan). Add to that the occasional Haredi man running and campaigning for other parties, such as Yaakov Vider in the Likud and some others. There was also Rabbi Dov Lipman who went to the Knesset for Yesh Atid, though some did not consider him Haredi either for some of the issues he wa sinvolved in.

Add this trend to the polls that indicate that about 20% of Haredim will not vote for Haredi parties, and it looks like this, especially if the trend continues to grow, could point to trouble in the Haredi political world.

With the women it seems only natural. Any woman who feels driven to public service, finds herself with no place in the Haredi parties. It is only natural that they would look elsewhere in order to accomplish what they are looking to accomplish. The Haredi parties basically held a monopoly on the Haredi public until now, but people are feeling more liberated and not just taking what the Haredi leadership is saying at face value. This can be seen as a real revolution. They are not even trying to fight it anymore, as has happened in the past - they are just leaving and finding their places elsewhere.

I don't see this as presenting a real existential danger to the Haredi parties. They have enough support to survive this issue and the yeshiva world continues to grow with its natural base of voters for the Haredi parties, but they will not grow as much as they could if they would make themselves more inclusive to diversity within the Haredi community. The Haredi parties are basically an old mans club for people associated with specific rabbonim and yeshivas. Anyone else, from any other faction within the Haredi community, does not really have a real path to public service.

If people do not feel connected to the party and do not feel the party works for the issues they feel are important to them, the people will find other parties to support that do. That is simply how it works. It has been easier to accomplish as a voter, as voters have to answer to nobody. Voters go behind the voting partition and slip a ballot anonymously into the envelope - nobody knows who anybody really voted for, so nobody could be brought to task for not supporting the Haredi parties. Running as a candidate for another party is a much bolder step, and it really shows the disconnect so many people have with the parties that are "supposed" to represent them.

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1 comment:

  1. Indeed, but the amount of Ashkenazi Haredim has grown over the past two decades while their party has nor really budged from the 5-6-7 seats. Shas has also taken a big hit, we assume seeing their traditional voters leaving only the Haredi voters behind.


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