Israeli Elections - For Which Party to Vote?
For me, there are a number of issues raised in these elections that are important for the State of Israel (in no particular order):
- Keeping Israel a Jewish state where its Ministry of Religious Affairs and all government offices follow Halacha
- Keeping the Land of Israel intact
- Keeping Yeshiva students learning Torah - for its own sake and to help protect the country
- Keeping illegal infiltrators out and expelling those that already came in
- Keeping poverty to a minimum
- Keeping Iran from going nuclear
- Keeping Hamas and Hizbalah from attacking Jewish communities
- Keeping the Crown of Sephardic Glory in its rightful place
- Keeping the rulings of Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a
Which party can one count on to fulfill all 9 issues? Only Shas. With #9 in there, it seems pretty obvious. But even without #9 in there, it's true.
It is with this in mind that I take issue with the Muqata's assessment of the Shas party. I like and respect Jameel and agree with him most of the time, but he's very wrong in his rant there. Some of the rabbis I respect have also erred here, Bimhilat Kevodam. There are many other rabbis who have not erred and have supported Shas.
Anyone that says that Rav Ovadia is being misled by those around him is erring, again Bimhila. Rav Ovadia knows what's going on - and he himself explained that the same thing happened with R' Akiva Eiger. When R' Akiva Eiger was older, people started saying that you couldn't rely on any of his Piskei Halacha since those around him manipulated him. R' Akiva Eiger said, "I can forgive on my own Torah, but HKB"H will not forgive on His Torah." Rav Ovadia said that the same thing applies to him, but he didn't want to say this publicly since he didn't want to compare himself to R' Akiva Eiger.
What has prompted Rav Ovadia to attack his political opponents? Not ח"ו that he hates the members of the other parties. G-d forbid. It's that he loves all of Kelal Yisrael and that these parties are deceiving typical Shas voters into voting for parties that are not going to uphold the Torah values that Shas represents. This is especially true regarding drafting Yeshiva students. He is visibly shaken with the prospect of the loss of Torah learning that will inevitably come as a result of such a decree. Only a strong Shas will help prevent this from occurring.
Rav Ovadia has been a target his entire life. It comes with the territory. When you stand up for what you believe and say what needs to be said without fearing man - only Hashem - that's what makes a Gadol.
When Torah values are respected, that is something that will help promote real Ahdut more than anything else. Not being PC to the PC crowd. Not compromising with Halacha. Those planning to vote Bayit Hayehudi, in Rav Ovadia's view, are not upholding Torah values. Now, you can argue with that, and you may have a respected rabbi to back you up, but the Gadol Hador has spoken. Who could dare argue on it?