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Archive for January 29th, 2009

Last night for the first time in my life I went to an election meeting. The meeting was for the “Habayit HaYehudi HaMafdal HaHadasha” party and the speaker was Uri Auerbach. As anyone in Israel will probably know, Uri Auerbach is a jounalist, publicist, radio presenter and childrens writer (I even wrote a blog post a while back about one of his books).

He is seen by many as being a pioneer of religious people in the largely secular media and arts scene. Indeed Israeli media and arts have gone through an amazing revolution away from their socialist, internationalist and modernist roots to cultural pluralism in the last few years and Uri Auerbach certainly has been a part in this. I do feel though that he has been somewhat overtaken by the flood waters that have come in his wake but that is often the nature of being a pioneer.

Getting down to politics, doubt has been expressed that the split Bayit Yehudi or Ichud Leumi will get throught the Achuz HaHasima and even get into the next Knesset. His take is that according to surveys 41% of his potential consituency of the religious public are still undecided and that the results in the general surveys are getting better. The other major political insight from surveys that he shared with us is that most of the undecided are tossing it up between Likud and Bayit Yehudi. That’s me as well.

His message was double. On the one hand he stressed the sectorial importance of having “our people” in the right places to help us on a personal and community level. If you need help getting money or support for a project or institution close to the hearts of the religious community then do you go to Zvulun Orlev or to number 17 in the Likud list who has a kipa on his head whoever he may be. Fair enough, but as he admitted a large number of his potential voters don’t want to be a “sector” anymore. They are part of the larger picture of the country and want to be seen and vote as such.

His other message was one of vision. We have something to offer. A different agenda. Our agenda. This is where your values and your will be heard. I am just a bit worried that they are a bit too new and naive for the political game. What do I have to show that they will actually get stuff done or make a difference?

That said, I am leaning in the direction of giving them my vote.

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