October 13, 2019

The Troubled Plight of the Israeli Centrist

“What awaits, say, a young humanist religious Zionist who is revolted by racism as he stands in the privacy of his neighborhood ballot box on Sept. 17? Which Zionist party represents his religious and universal values? After all, his own brand of Zionism is alien to that of the two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and Yahadut HaTorah. The newly minted leftist Democratic Camp does not speak to his Jewish values, and the alliance on the political right features Rabbi Rafi Peretz, a self-declared homophobe. For that party, as for the Likud, territorial compromise is akin to worshiping idols.

Until the 1984 elections, our guy could have voted for the National Religious Party led at the time by Yosef Burg. Burg’s grandson, Hillel Ben-Sasson, the son of former Knesset member from centrist Kadima Menachem Ben-Sasson, is miles away in his views from the current arch-right messianic mutation of the old Mizrahi movement and National Religious Party, known these days as the “United Right.”

Ben-Sasson’s sister is a loyal Meretz voter (Tzvia Greenfield was the first and last religious Meretz Knesset representative), but the political left’s anti-clerical stances distance him it. The Arab-Jewish Hadash Party represented his universal values before it hooked up with other Arab parties to form the Joint List in 2015.”

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