Vote yes, donate, no! The ultra-Orthodox parties have lost their way



By Adv. Nechama Tzivin *

The Supreme Court ruling that was published in 2021, on the subject of conversion, is no less than a huge loss and damage to the Jewish cause in the State of Israel, it emphasizes the poor status and condition of the religious parties and especially the ultra-Orthodox in the Knesset.

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This time, in my opinion, the court was not guilty of over-intervening. It did not impose its opinion on the legislature and did not assume powers for itself. For a decade and a half, the court begged the Knesset to settle the issue through legislation or compromise. It did not happen. Therefore, he ruled what he ruled.

This issue was addressed not because it is not important enough for the ultra-orthodox parties. In other words, it’s important enough for them to be interviewed on the day of the ruling on every TV program and website to express their deep shock at the harm to the people of Israel and to threaten with “genealogy scrolls” (which is probably essential to prevent a common situation in our midst where a Yeshiva student from a Ponivege would marry a soldier, who converted to Judaism in the IDF…🤣 ), but not Important enough to make this matter of principled that is fought for by all coalition and electoral means, that overthrows governments. 

While It is true that there is no guaranteed majority on this issue, not in this Knesset and probably not in future ones either. But where is the war? Where is the outcry? Where is the threat of political non-cooperation if the issue is not promoted, which by all accounts is the most fundamental in terms of preserving the character of the state as a Jewish state?

And if it wasn’t clear until now, then it refers to the issue of who is a Jew and the Law of Return (MIHU YEHUDI).

This phenomenon concerns the tension that exists between the doubling of roles assumed by the sectoral parties, especially the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties. They also claim to represent the direct interests of their electorate and also to represent the Jewish, halachic, and religious interests, to speak on its behalf, and to insure the formation takes a Jewish state.

It is very easy to arrange a budget for a ULPANA or to register an ultra-orthodox boarding school as eligible for the budget. But It is a thousand times more difficult and not that rewarding to wage an ideological struggle.

For many years this tension existed and the ultra-orthodox and religious parties somehow respected it. Until it turns out that as the needs of the community increased, the interest of the representatives in the idea, in the real mission, in the ideological engine, without which they would lose the right to exist, decreased.

No significant religious legislation, no war on who is a Jew, no questions on the of the character of the Jewish state, not on Klal Yisrael, not on kashrut standards (in contrast, a private struggle, instead of the parties, was ended with success, through the Supreme Court, due to petition No. 3336/2004 submitted by Adv. Mordechai Eisenberg and me, against the dragging of feet of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief Rabbinate), this is a bitter disappointment.

As an ultra-Orthodox woman, I will continue to vote for the more ultra-Orthodox party the God-fearing party, without pretense and without cleverness, but I will do so with a strong sense of frustration, and with great hope that this behavior will change. I certainly expect to see that a religious party will work to represent Judaism and the Torah of Israel, and only then the communities that voted for the party. But I will withhold my contributions from them.

*The writer of the article is a lawyer, who lives in Kfar Chabad and is an active member of the Governmental Fairness Movement