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Jun 18, 2012

Rabbi Dov Lipman Resigns From Am Shalem.. is he Turning To Local Politics?

In a surprising local development, Rabbi Dov Lipman has resigned from the Am Shalem party of Rabbi Chaim Amsalem. Lipman had headed up the Anglo division and had worked very hard to build a following among the anglo crowds in Israel. Whether the party would succeed in the elections or not is something nobody can tell, as just because people support the idea of a party, does not mean they will actually vote for that party on election day. But it was a pretty good start.

The news talks about how Am Shalem has decided to move in a different direction, which caused Lipman to decide to resign. I asked him what happened, and his response is that instead of focusing on the votes of English-speaking immigrants, Rabbi Amasalem chose to change directions and focus instead on the potential Sephardic voters, presenting himself as an alternative to Shas.

Shas is made up of a lot of sephardic haredi cotes, but it is also made up of probably even more Sephardi votes that come from traditional jews rather than haredi. Amsalem is looking to get some of those votes. With Shas appearing more and more Haredi, it seems Amsalem is expecting some of the less haredi supporters might "jump ship" if there were a more reasonable alternative that spoke to them.

I say good luck, but it probably wont happen. The traditional Sephardi voter is very obedient to Rav Ovadiah, and it would take a miracle for a significant number of them to vote against Shas. Especially when election time comes and they pull out the brachot and promises of olam ha'ba for voting Shas.

The question is what is Rabbi Lipman going to do now? He has been very active locally, but only as an activist, as his political focus was nationally for Am Shalem. Now that he is no longer running and campaigning for Am Shalem, is he going to throw himself into the local political mix? Will he prepare now to run for a spot on the city council or perhaps even present himself as a candidate for mayor in the upcoming elections next year?

I asked Lipman, and his response was "there are have been people from all populations pushing me to run for Mayor for a while. I cannot say I have ruled it out but I also am not actively pursuing. I have been actively involved in local issues all along including preparing the general population for an important election and will continue to do so".

Lipman isn't declaring himself a candidate yet, but he seems to consider himself one of the possibilities. No matter who the candidate will end up being, the only chance the general public has of unseating Moshe Abutbol (or whomever the agreed upon haredi candidate would be) is to be unified and have all groups, despite other differences, support the one candidate,

In the last election, Moshe Abutbol did not receive the majority of votes for mayor. not even close. However, the general population split their votes among two candidates - former mayor Danny Vaknin and Shalom Lerner. if they can unify the vote around one candidate and get people to support and actually go out and vote for the person, they will at least have a chance of succeeding. Lipman also said to me "the most important thing from my perspective is unity of the general population and moderate chareidim. That is the ultimate goal."

I don't know if Lipman will be that candidate, but whomever it will be is going to have a lot of work to do to keep everyone happy and motivated.

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  1. Lipman was angling for English-speaking immigrants? From what I can tell, he was after the anti-chareidi vote.

  2. While Dov did succeed in getting "likes" from Anglos, very few of them would have voted for Am Shalem in an election. I am sure that Rav Amsalem was aware of this from the start but was happy to have Dov on board for fund raising purposes. Anyway Dov's recent flirting with ideas such as allowing women to wear a talit at the kotel would have not helped Amsalem get the traditional sefardi vote.

    I agree with Rafi that Amsalem will find it very hard to get votes away from Shas. Azran who broke away from Shas tried with his Telem Emuna party in '96 and didn't succeed and even Rav Kadurie failed to do so in 2003 with his Ahavat Yisrael party.

    During the last election in Beit Shemesh I asked a colleague of mine who is a Beit Shemesh old timer why the vatikim are supporting Abutbul over Lerner. His response was that the Moroccans will never vote for an American and see Abutbul as one of them even though he is charedi. Lerner has lived in Israel and BS for many years and has perfect hebrew but yet he still wasn't able to get significant votes from old Beit Shemesh so I don't think Dov has a better chance.

    In the next election I am hoping that many moderate RBS A charedim will vote for an alternative candidate but if the alternative is Dov who has and anti charedi image then I am not sure that this will happen.

  3. Amsalem wanna make a lot of goyim being jewish !!! He's out of mind !!!

  4. I think Dov should either run as a sagan to a Sephardic candidate for Mayor, or join Yair Lapid's party :)

  5. Look at Dov's praise for Yair Lapid here http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=274605. I suspect that Lapid has offered Dov a slot on his party's list so Dov pulled out of Am Shalem.

    1. Great idea for Lapid to have a dati-machamd as some sort of charm. Last week, he posted a freudian slip on his facebook page about taking part in Shinui (his father's anti-Jewish party). Rav Lipman owes a lot to Yair for collaborating on breaking the girl-spitting story in RBS.


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