National Religious: The Dilemma of Power
The new government coalition has commentators reaching for their history books.
The combination of a strong (nay, critical) National Religious presence, with absent hareidim, does not seem to have a precedent in Israeli history.
If one also considers the national religious MK's in Likud (6), Yesh Atid (3), and HaTnuah (1) - I make it that we're looking at 21 national religious MK's in the ruling coalition. Almost one third of the Government.
If you ask an American - "are Jewish senators/congressmen good for the Jews?" - you'll probably get a mixed review. Yes, it's good for Jews to be represented and to influence policy. But it's not good for the Jews to be to seen to be holding the reins of power. It's sort of an Evil Eye, that the gentiles will use the image of Jewish power as an excuse for antisemitism.
In addition, there's a feeling that Jews may go overboard to be seen to be broadminded, and may even act against Jewish interests, in order to boost personal credibility with the gentiles.
There's a parallel notion among the national religious in Israel.
Yes, it's great that we're so well represented, and can now influence Israel's national policies, as never before.
But, will 'our' MK's really promote our values - or will they sell these values out to the highest bidder, or betray them in the face of a threat?
A dark stain on the history of the national religious movement was Mafdal's cohabitation in Arik Sharon's disengagement government. Such cooperation is widely viewed as a betrayal of National Religious core values.
Will the national religious MK's be true to the course, combining Torah values, with a love of Eretz Yisrael + Am Yisrael, and building a strong and democratic State of Israel?
Any achievements in the framework of these values would be a tremendous "kiddush Hashem"; whereas a betrayal (or even seeming betrayal) of these values would bring shame upon our national religious hashkafa.
The stakes for the national religious have never been higher.