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Lamrot Hakol (Despite Everything)

Musings and kvetchings and Torah thoughts from an unconventional Orthodox Jew.

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"I blog, therefore I am". Clearly not true, or I wouldn't exist except every now and then.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why cancelling your Likud membership is a Very Bad Idea

This is sort of an open letter to my friend Yaaqov. Last week, he posted a blog article entitled Why I Am Cancelling My Likud Membership. I want to explain why that's the wrong choice.

I have to start by pointing out that Yaaqov and I share the same view on how things should be different in Israel, at least in broad terms, and possibly even in details. And Yaaqov is currently living according to his principles, living in Israel, while I'm not, out here in the Exile, which makes it bordering on chutzpah for me to argue against his choice, but I've never had a problem with that sort of chutzpah, and my personal shortcomings don't take away from what I'm going to say.

When Moshe Feiglin started Manhigut Yehudit as a faction within Likud, it looked like Don Quixote going up against one more windmill. The idea seemed preposterous. Sure, the Likud constitution is a lot closer to the values and platform of Manhigut Yehudit than it is to anything the Likud has done since Camp David I, but the inertia of the Likud machine seemed so vast that the entire Manhigut enterprise seemed a little unrealistic.

Of course, I have no problem with unrealistic in the short term. Particularly when it comes to Israel. Like Ben Gurion said (and even a broken clock can be right twice a day), "If you don't believe in miracles in Israel, you aren't a realist."

And Yaaqov is right when he points out that the current leadership of the Likud is never going to sit there and let Feiglin take over; that they'll bolt.

But I have one major question for Yaaqov. My friend, what's your alternative? Do you believe that we can do nothing? That we have to do mitzvos and daven a lot and wait for Moshiach to come and bail us out? Or do you think that supporting fringe parties which have more in common with lobbies than they do with actual political parties is somehow going to change the situation?

Manhigut Yehudit has been going in one direction, Yaaqov. And that's up. And yes, each time we've gotten closer to something tangible, it's been snatched away. But that hasn't stopped the upward movement. There's a direction to what Manhigut Yehudit is doing, Yaaqov. And Bibi and company are aware of it. Look at Bibi scurrying in a panic trying to change push elections for the central committee off. There's only one person in the entire political arena that frightens him. Why do you think that is?

I hope you'll reconsider and pay your Likud dues. I'm sure there's a grace period, even if you didn't pay them at the end of February. Even if you're skeptical, or growing weary waiting for success, you have to see that this is the only direction which can work.


Blogger Ben-Yehudah said...


Lisa, Your points are well taken.

The main concern I had was throwing my money at an organization assisting Christians to move to Israel. See here, just for starters, though I don't know if it mentions settling: http://wezion.org/index.php

Anyway, I missed the deadline, so it's moot for now.

However, I believe I may be punished, along with all other Likud members who know what's going on, for being 'over the misswath lo ta'aseh "Lo Tenohem."

So, we will have another year for one of us, or neither of us to change our minds.


12:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I hear what you're saying. And Danny Danon and his Christian friends are a huge problem. I'm just not sure that you can be oveir lo tenahem for belonging to a group like that. Particularly when your goal is to stop them from doing that.

Do you have any doubt in your mind that when Moshe takes over the Likud, this will stop? If not, then it seems to me that paying dues to the Likud towards that end is actually an attempt to fulfill lo tenahem, and not the opposite.

I will tell you something that Moshe related to me personally. When he drove me back to the Tel Aviv tahanah hamerkazit from a meeting (it was late, and he felt it would be dangerous for me to go by myself), we had a lengthy discussion about me running the snif I'd created in Beit Shemesh. The current head of that snif simply wasn't doing anything, even though he was the best placed to get it started. So I took matters into my own hands, and designed and printed pamphlets, and set up a booth to get people to join.

The current head of the snif there told me that he'd been told I wasn't to call myself the head of the snif. Never mind that he still wasn't prepared to do so himself. So I raised the issue with Moshe, and he confirmed that he'd made that decision.

During our discussion, he gave me an analogy. I think it's a terrible analogy, but that's a different issue. He said that he'd been offered a blank check by evangelical missionaries. And that it was clear that the blank check was for real; that he could fill it out for millions. But he refused the money, because he didn't want to have any ties with Christians trying to convert Jews.

That's who you're supporting by remaining a Likud member.

As far as lo tenahem is concerned, can I suggest that you pose the question to R' Bar Hayim and see what he has to say about the issue?

2:19 PM  

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