When interviewed a number of years ago, Aryeh Deri stated he feels it is time to rid the political community of chareidi parties, supporting those who felt chareidi politicians would be more effective running for slots on the lists of the larger secular parties. Today however, following his return to Shas, it appears the want-to-be minister has changed his view.
Today, there are more than a few people among the chareidi tzibur who feel this would be the most effective route to achieve the goals of the growing chareidi community. Proponents of eliminating chareidi parties explain that large parties such as Likud would have to make offers to attract the chareidi MKs, and this would place chareidi issues on the agenda of the larger political parties instead of permitting them to remain ‘chareidi issues’ addressed uniquely by the chareidi parties.
They explain the deal-making would take place prior to the election and the issues that are important to the chareidim would be included in agreements ahead of the election, and not left to coalition negotiations which follow the election.
The advocates of eliminating the chareidi parties also feel the disdain for chareidim would drop significantly, for the chareidi politicians would be viewed as an integral part of the mainstream political community and not just representatives who are concerned with their own issues. At present, in the eyes of many Israelis, the Arab and chareidi politicians are viewed as representatives of sector interest lobbies, not politicians who are seeking to improve the country for all. While it is true there are politicians in the large party who earned their seats by representing a specific area or group, this affiliation however is overshadowed by being part of the large party, and this would be the case if chareidim joined as well.
Proponents feel more can and would be accomplished by permitting chareidim to operate in the framework of the larger parties, and the current reality is actually detrimental to the chareidi tzibur, at least if one considers the longer-term future.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)