Here in the US, we’ve come to expect an escalation of dirty campaigning and inattention to facts as campaigns drag on. Ironically, as we get closer to the Israeli election, some truths have emerged in the UTJ (“Gimmel”) election material. A number of commercials were quite good. My favorite:
The subtlety in the contrast between the kollel man and the working man is impressive – as well as the upbeat message that they are united by a common respect for the authority of Torah leadership. More impressive is the takeaway, which would seem to include the tacit message that “working charedi” is not an oxymoron. The fact that UTJ has taken to both YouTube and Facebook to troll for votes is also a concession of sorts. In the desperate hunt for votes, some images of the campaign will be impossible to completely erase after the last ballot box is stuffed – including the likelihood of an increasing role for women in the future.
Of course, the message is a mixed one from its inception. Just a short while ago MK Moshe Gafni insisted that he does not represent working charedim, who are not properly charedi.[Postscript – There is reason to believe that the translation of the interview with Gafni is seriously flawed. See the discussion in the Comments section.]
[Hat tip to Dr. Saul Newman, LA]
MK Moshe Gafni insisted that he does not represent working chareidim, who are not properly charedi
Of course, he said no such thing. What he did say was, that working chareidim are not a separate category, who need specific representation. If they are chareidim, then they are chareidim, period.
It would be nice if this were not only on Youtube where the guy on the right would see it but also in places the guy on the left would see it.
And if it were to continue after the elections.
“Just a short while ago MK Moshe Gafni insisted that he does not represent working charedim, who are not properly charedi.”
That is a mistranslation of what MK Gafni said; what he actually said was that there is no distinct group called “Working Charedim”, they are just Charedim who work.
[YA – Here is how it was reported on YeshivaWorldNews:
Gafne: I do not accept the categorization. There are those who opt to leave yeshiva and join the working community.]
KB: Are they called chareidim?
Gafne: No they are no. I do not accept this. It does not exist. One who does not learn in kollel and works has left.
” … MK Moshe Gafni insisted that he does not represent working charedim, who are not properly charedi.”
Since Gafni will certainly by on the charedi ticket and openly states he doesn’t represent me, i.e., that he is indifferent or even inimical to my needs and interests, why should I vote for the charedi ticket?
[YA – You could vote Yachad…..]
and it would also be nice if the 100,000 + black garbed bnei yeshiva who attended the rally [ who no doubt have no tv’s , and who have only kosherfones] could see that their party endorses the idea that one could be a stripe-shirted working stiff and still be a haredi in good standing….
What can we learn from advertising without also investigating the product independently?
I am a left-wing voter and I saw some very clever Gimmel ads on Israeli television. Israeli law mandates the broadcasting of election commercials created and submitted by the various parties participating in the election and Gimmel’s ads were among the best. I also heard the ads being discussed positively by a radio talk show host on Galgalatz (the army radio, which is extremely popular).
I don’t mean to be facetious, but why would a working chareidi vote Gimmel, notwithstanding MK Gafni’s comment? I am being serious. If Gimmel’s platform is to keep chareidim in yeshivos, to prohibit secular studies, and to keep yungerman out of the army, then how are these issues at all relevant to a working chareidi?
How do you know it is UTJ that put this on YouTube and/or FB rather than a supporter of them doing it without official sanction?
YA – Dovid Zalkin is 100% correct. YWN produced a gross misinterpretation of what Gafne actually said. In fact he actually said the opposite of what Yeshiva World “translated”. I strongly urge you to listen to the actual interview with Gafne.
Audio of the interview: http://www.kol-barama.co.il/live/75872/
A discussion of the flawed translation: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2015/01/ywn-posts-seriously-flawed-translation.html
The quote of Gafni is a misrepresentation of what he said. He said that he does not recognize Charedi workers as distinct from Charedim, and defined himself as a Charedi Oveid! Regarding academics, he said that he does not view it as part of his job to encourage attending colleges, but if a person in Yeshiva consulted with his Rebbe and he was told to go, he is a Charedi and Gafne represents him. Gafne stated that he helps all of them. The working Charedi rep on the Gimmel list, Morgenstern, said that Gafne has helped a lot. In the previous term, from the opposition, Agudah sponsored a bill that would encourage affirmative action on behalf of hiring Charedim in public service and government positions.
You can google the interview, it is available in audio online.
The bottom line is that Gafne stated openly that he DOES represent working Charedim, and they are actually indistinct from the generic “Charedim” in his book.
Yeshiva World News mistranslated MK Gafni’s words.
The UTJ videos indeed have official sanction. Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Litzman were active participants in many of them. According to an article in Haaretz, the videos and the Facebook page were handled by secular supporters of the party, though who knows what that means. No secular PR firm could have produced the video featured here, with its subtle nuances, on its own.
The party decided to go to Facebook and YouTube primarily in an aim to attract non-Haredi voters. Or perhaps the party finally decided not to look pathetic compared to the other parties. A great deal of the campaign this time was waged via video/Facebook. UTJ had to be there.
Here in Israel the polls are about to open at this writing. Daven for us all.
Gafni’s words are irrelevant. It’s what the party stands for that counts, and sadly, the emptiness of the charedi party has been laid bare for all to see. Agree with it or not, every one of the Israeli parties has a vision for the entire country. [Shas is perhaps an exception, but it appeals to all sefardim across the board, and it also makes efforts to appeal to arabs and Bedouins.] The UTJ, markedly on the other hand, is a party for charedim and charedim only. It offers no solutions or suggestions for the country. It has no vision or ideal for Jewry. It simply comes knocking on the door of the party in power and asks for a handout, in exchange for its votes. Just what exactly they might be voting for doesn’t concern them. Their “principles”, as it were, of sitting and learning, avoidance of internet, public images of women, etc., are all thrown out the door when it comes time for electioneering. It’s very sad. The unmistakable message being sent by the charedim, which grows clearer by the day, is that the Torah they supposedly stand for has no meaning for modern times. It is all about the money, and principles be damned.
They can say all they want, and write hasbarah articles all they want. The lack of principle is glaring. THAT, and no other, is the clear impression the world will be left with when the dust settles today.
I’d like to set the record straight here. I listened to the original interview of MK Gafni. He did not say that “Regarding academics, he does not view it as part of his job to encourage attending colleges.” What he said was that as a matter of policy and principle UTJ does not encourage it. The interviewer asked MK Gafni if it’s true that he has been asked to speak at the Chareidi College in Kiryat Ono and he refused – MK Gafni did not deny it. The interviewer said that he has sent chareidim to MK Gafni for help regarding academic issues and he has refused to help – again, MK Gafni did not deny it.
I think that speaks volumes. I think it would be disingenuous to give UTJ credit for helping along the process of chareidim getting a secular education when they are clearly taking pains not to.
[YA – I don’t think that is fair. I think that they are trying hard to protect some beautiful values of limud Torah lishmah while sometimes nodding to realities on the ground. Like most of us who have to balance opposing forces in our lives, they are not doing such a great job of finding the right mixture. (And don’t get me wrong – I am unabashedly a supporter of the programs that offer haredim the academic and vocational training they need to enter the workforce if they so desire.) UTJ should get some credit for the video, even if they will later disown it. It is a good sign. And they are not being any more inconsistent of hypocritical than the rest of us who live with contradictions in our lives every day.]
I also saw that everything I read in the mainstream media was false and skewed. There was no increase for Herzog and slide for Netanyahu. It was wishful thinking on their part. The bias in the media which is obviously more leftist and secular than the majority of the country was never so clear to me. The post election grumbling by some of the Tel Aviv Elites is downright shameful. They can’t accept tact that Israel isn’t like they want it to be, western, secular and Ashkenazi.
So, Netanyahu wasn’t such a fool after all to come to Congress and politicize the Israel Relationship and put all of the Democrats into a bind so he could win re-election. He was indeed “wily cayote”.
The “ikar” is that Sara won’t have to move out of the mansion. But, she will have to stop keeping the refund for the soda bottles and she will have to cut down on ice cream orders and huge catering bills. That woman is a trip. I pity Bibi, but “Mah Naaseh”.
Now, we have to return to the real world. I think this coalition will be much more stable than the previous one and Netanyahu was correct in his decision to force new elections. He is a smarter guy than I thought.
Many questions remain to be answered. Will he call Obama and have a “hudna”, will he reverse the “gezeirois” , will Dov Lipman get a new job. How many full time students with their lifetime 4D exemption did not vote because Rabbi Auerbach told them not to. Will anyone do anything about the high cost of living, the inability of average working people to own a home? Will Naftali Bennet lose his luster now that all his glitzy ads helped him “vi a toiten bankes” ?
You wrote that the video carries an “upbeat message” that kollel men and working men “are united by a common respect for the authority of Torah leadership.” I watched the video three times and didn’t see that. It flashed the words “daas torah” on the screen at the end, but showed none of the usual charedi-media visuals of rosh yeshivas voting, or indeed, rabbis period. To the contrary, the video seemed to purposely shy away from that. It focused on an individual’s daily religious life, and davka not on a collectivist/mass mentality. Could this be, perhaps, another of those concessions you spoke about?
[YA – Yes]
A simple perusal of the laws that Gafni brought to be voted on in the past Knesset makes it very clear that he has a very limited agenda – making sure that the cost of living for the average Charedi is as low as possible. Very few, if any, laws that he sponsored have any bearing on the broader Israeli public. As an Israeli who desires the greater good of the country, not the instant gratification of my narrow community, he does not represent me, regardless of whether he views me as part of his constituency or not.
I guess that’s a glass-half-full way to look at it!
How is this any different than how Arab leaders transmit one message in English(for PR purposes) and a wholly different one in Arabic (what they really believe, which, in the case of UTJ, is that we must follow our Gedolim unqualifiedly — Gedolim whose rhetoric and policies are quite different than the nice thoughts portrayed here)?
Do you imagine that Rav Shteinman or Rav Chaim were shown these commercials (including images of nicely-dressed women with nice sheitels) and approved their being aired on TV and social media — even in order to troll for more votes?
>> As an Israeli who desires the greater good of the country, not the instant gratification of my narrow community, he does not represent me, regardless of whether he views me as part of his constituency or not
—- not entirely fair. most of the sectoral parties [ ie not the top two] are in it mainly for what they get when they sign the coalition agreement. in fact, it was very nice for 1/3 of the Bennett voters to sacrifice their kippa MK’s to keep Likud out of a unity government… they now paint Bennett as a weakened loser, when his moser nefesh voters saved Bibi’s bu–.
“UTJ should get some credit for the video, even if they will later disown it. It is a good sign. And they are not being any more inconsistent of hypocritical than the rest of us who live with contradictions in our lives every day.]”
Rabbi Adlerstein, please explain why this is not גנבת דעת
[YA – Because geneivas daas does not apply to practices so common that everyone can be presumed to be aware of them. People know what political promises are worth, and why they are made. OTOH, there are some promises even politicians of certain stripes won’t make, because those promises belong to a different universe. The commercial does perhaps show that UTJ is closer to acknowledging the legitimacy of parnasah than we think. ]
YA: “geneivas daas does not apply to practices so common that everyone can be presumed to be aware of them. People know what political promises are worth, and why they are made.”
Are you telling me I shouldn’t expect more from UTJ than from Likud or Yesh Atid? Isn’t our mandate to remain ehrlich even if that means swimming against the tide?
[YA – I would much prefer to be able to work with your expectations, which are as they should be. I’m speaking on the basis of the record, which shows no discernible difference in integrity between any of the political parties.]
it is known that 10% of israeli voters decide in the booth . also there were no polls for the last few days, and the ‘midgam’ [exit poll] had higher voter refusal to participate in Likud precinct areas.
now that BiBi had to go racist/onestateonly solution , there will inevitably be a huge price to play in Europe and even the US [after all , young Democrats are pro-Palestine]. time will tell if it was worth it for all the Bennett voters sacrificing to keep the Left-Center out of power , when the price may be bringing Apartheid-BDS isolation a few years closer….
“YA – I would much prefer to be able to work with your expectations, which are as they should be. I’m speaking on the basis of the record, which shows no discernible difference in integrity between any of the political parties.”
This explains why many ashkenezi charedim do not vote for UTJ. Many used to vote for Shas when HaRav Ovadia Yosef was around and its current leader was in political exile. With the Rav Yosef’s petira and Shas’ current leader firmly installed in his seat, this segment of the Israeli charedi world has no representation and place to go. Given the population growth of the charedi world, we should normally be able to add one seat in each consecutive election, but we don’t. We have been stuck with 6 seats for ever.
L. Oberstein: “Will he call Obama ….?”
Do you know why Netanyahu must deal with Obama? Because you voted Obama into office. Obama doesn’t only hate Netanyahu. He also hates Israel, Jews, and even L. Oberstein. To his credit, Obama never concealed his animus for anything Jewish.
I’m sorry, you cannot be serious. There are no “many” Ashkenazi Charedim who voted for Shas due to integrity superior to that of UTJ, irrespective of its current leader. There are other felons that have emerged from its ranks. I’ll say this again: If you insist on voting for a party that has never had any of its MKs indicted (let alone convicted) of anything, you have two choices: Yesh Atid (over 20 months) or UTJ (over 67 years). Does that count as a discernible difference in integrity? I’d say so.
Doron Beckerman, I resent your attributing to me things I never wrote, said, or suggested. I responded to the statement “… “UTJ should get some credit for the video, even if they will later disown it.” suggesting this is גנבת דעת which is assur to do even to a gentile. Rabbi Adlerstein did acknowledge that UTJ’s election practices are not that different from those of the other parties. To which I asked above “Isn’t our mandate to remain ehrlich even if that means swimming against the tide?” It is you and not me who calls Shas’ current leader a felon, adding that he is not the only one w/in Shas’ ranks. And absence of indictment doesn’t make one ehrlich. Two names that come my mind in this contex: Bill & Hillary.
And one more thing, Doron Beckerman. In light of the avg. 5% annual growth of the constituency that it wants to represent, can you tell me why is UTJ stuck in the 6 MK seat range? In 1973, UTJ’s predecessor, Agudas Israel together with Poalei Agudas Israel had 4+1=5 MKs in the 9th Knesset (1977 elections). Forty one years later, UTJ has six MKs. Based on an avg. 5% annual increase, it should have 37 MKs. Granted, this figure is skewed due to the massive immigration from the former USSR of people that are unlikely to vote for UTJ. On the other hand, the yordim from Eretz Israel are mostly chilonim who likewise wouldn’t vote for UTJ. UTJ’s 5 to 7 seats in the Knesset over a 41-year period suggests to me that many charedim vote for other political parties, or choose not to vote. As you can see, despite your intense persuasion attempts, there aren’t many buyers for UTJ. Nor for Gafni as finance minister. Your push for Gafni as finance minister is comparable to Lieberman demanding the Defense Minister position. He wants to have an army to boss around. No one asks in Israel whether candidates have the necessary qualifications for the job.
I would like to make a correction to my comment above with the date/time stamp March 20, 2015 at 1:05 pm. The above number crunching inadvertently implies that the charedi population grows at the annual rate of approx. 5% which is correct, while the rest of the population doesn’t grow which is obviously incorrect. The long term growth of the population of Israel, charedim included is 1.7%. I couldn’t get a reliable figure for the growth rate of the population, w/out the charedim. Therefore, I used 1.7% growth rate which is subtracted from the 5% to calculate the number of charedi MKs that the Knesset should have in 2015. Thus, the charedi party should have grown from 5 seats in 1977 to approx. 19 seats. Well, it’s far from there.
Rabbi Adlerstein’s statement presumes that UTJ will later disown the video, presumably based on Gafni’s statement regarding working Charedim, which is an (understandable, in light of YWN’s) misrepresentation of what he said. If Morgenstern himself, the rep of the working Charedim, states unequivocally that he is happy with Gafni’s work, I don’t see what more you can ask for.
In terms of numbers – I think it’s quite straightforward. Had R’ Auerbach and Chabad voted for UTJ this election as they did in the past, they would have had 8 seats. Shas, which didn’t exist then and was represented within Agudah, is whittled down to its core 7. The massive immigration of about a million people from the USSR easily accounts for the missing 4 relative to the population.
Besides, not all those who grow up Charedi remain that way.
Here are the numbers of Gimmel votes over the past elections – these are the numbers that need to be analyzed, since the general population is irrelevant to them:
’77 – Agudah + PAI: ¬ 82,000
’81 – Agudah + PAI: ¬ 89,000
’84 – Agudah + PAI: ¬ 69,000 (Kahane?)
’88 – Agudah + Degel: ¬ 137,000 (impressive get out the vote campaign on both sides).
’92 – 86,167
’96 – 98,617
’99 – 125,791
’03 – 135,087
’06 – 147,091
’09 – 147,954 (?)
’13 – 195,892
’15 – 211,826
The annual growth rate between ’77 and the current elections is about 4.17%. If you guesstimate 25,000 lost in this election from the Rav Auerbach faction, Chabad, and some Marzel people who would otherwise vote Gimmel, there’s your 5%.
Sorry – I used the straight percentage online calculator rather than the compound. At any rate, since ’92 – the advent of Shas – the CAGR is 4.28%, and with those extra 25,000 it would have been 4.78%.
Sorry again – more like 4% and 4.5%.
“Shas, which didn’t exist then and was represented within Agudah …”
That’s not so. The majority of Shas are traditional Sefardi Jews who used to vote for Likud. Shas has a small Sefardi Haredi core that used to vote for Agudah.
That was true when Shas had 17 seats, and partially true when they had 11. The conventional wisdom is that the 7 Shas has now is pure Sefardi Haredi – and the breakdown by locale and poll supports this. Shas, like Bayit Yehudi (and a bit of Yachad) had all its non-core constitents elegantly pickpocketed by Netanyahu, with his campaign mantra that he needs to close the gap with Herzog in order to be given the mandate to form the government (which wasn’t true, but hey…).
[By the way, this is one thing I love about living here. The super-effective SOS campaign by Netanyahu is dubbed by the media – in all sectors – as “Campaign HaGevald.”]
Shas has always been all Sefaradi plus some Ashkenezi charedim dissatisfied with lack of unity w/in the charedi camp, with the quality of the charedi MKs, plus the discipline that Shas showed while HaRav Ovadia Yosef was around. He ran the party with a firm hand. HaRav Yosef could relate to anyone, Sefardi, Ashkenezi, you name it. He would take your hands into his, would listen to you, and cry with you. I think he could find a good word and a good עצה even for an Arab who came to unload his peckalah of צערות. In this respect, he was on par with Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and the previous Satmar Ruv, Reb Yoily.
chaval that UTJ did not get the 8th seat — the yad l’achim ‘s rabbi sorotzkin, who might be a fresh air in trying to get a jewish education for the hilonim in the ‘jewish’ state… could they maybe move him up next time to 6th?