Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inside the Struggle for the Regulation Law

A political summary of the events by the Manhigut Yehudit staff
We are at the end of a politically intense and dramatic  process at the end of which the Knesset rejected the Regulation Law. It is still too early to analyze and understand all the implications of what happened in the Knesset, but because Manhigut Yehudit was in the thick of the developments, it is important to take stock of what occurred.

First, all of our members and activists who were part of the massive effort to convince the ministers and MKs can certainly be proud of themselves. The amount and range of the grass-roots pressure that was applied in the most effective and authentic way, was unprecedented in quality and quantity. The rapid enlistment of our dedicated members and activists was democracy at its best and showed how the "regular guy' can be involved and influence what happens.

This precedent-setting struggle shows something else that we must internalize: it shows that something has changed. Today, the faith-based public is heavily involved in Israel's political system through the ruling party of the Jewish majority – the Likud. No longer are we spectators from the side, trying to influence the Likud MKs and Central Committee members. We are the Likud. Please note that all the Likud MKs who are not ministers or deputy ministers except one (Carmel Shama Hakohen) voted in favor of the Regulation Law. This massive voting trend despite the Prime Minister's request shows that today, the hearts of most of the Likud members are with the settlements. Most of the ministers who voted against the Regulation Law did so because of Netanyahu's threats and against their conscience. Today, our votes and the votes of the additional faith-based members of the Likud allow the MKs to express their connection to the Land of Israel without fear, even if that meant going against the will of the prime minister.

Sometimes the truth can be unpleasant. The struggle for the Ulpana Hill, like the struggle for Gush Katif, was an attempt to extinguish a fire. The forces trying to make the State of Israel a state of all its citizens brought Oslo to the world, dragged Israel to the Expulsion from Gush Katif and have caused Israel's international legitimacy to deteriorate. Manhigut Yehudit has created a new pole in the Israeli discourse – a pole working to realize the dream of a Jewish state with a Jewish destiny. When this dream is realized, we won't have to put out fires anymore.

Working toward this goal, we have often found ourselves in key positions to influence the national discourse. This was true in Gush Katif when we led the Likud referendum, in which we won the battle but lost the war. Now again, we were key players in the battle for Ulpana Hill, which is actually the Left's opening shot to employ Israel's courts and pressure from the international community to destroy the entire settlement project.

The law was not passed and it is still not clear if the five buildings on Ulpana Hill can be saved, but we can already discern a change of direction. When the PM declares that he will build 30 homes for every home destroyed and when the ministers commit themselves to changing the legal situation in order to prevent leftist organizations from continuing their destruction crusade under the aegis of the High Court, this points to an important change of mentality.

There are now voices of those with vested interests calling on the Likud members to quit the party. We think that just the opposite is the correct course of action. We must not make light of the new tune being sung by Israel's government. We must work to realize this new direction and empower it. We will continue to closely watch the ministers and MKs to see who is advancing true solutions and who is just paying lip service while acting against this progress.

Ultimately, the final decision is made by the person elected to lead the country. As long as there is no real faith-based alternative, we will not be able to win the battles and our achievements will be limited. The faith-based leadership that we so sorely need is still gathering strength. Now is the time to register for the Likud to continue to advance the true solution: faith-based leadership for Israel.

Together, we will continue to work toward our goal: leadership that believes; leadership with vision and hope for the State of Israel; leadership that will not fear the international court in the Hague, but only the Creator of the world. 

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