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How Politics Is Destroying Israeli Rabbis' Authority

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Shortly before the last general election, in March, lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich came up with a brilliant marketing ploy that belied that truth. He decided to rename his party – National Union-Tekuma – calling it Religious Zionism.

Many viewed this as a deception. The religious Zionist bloc – or more accurately, movement, which is also known as the “knitted kippa bloc” – is a large one, encompassing diverse religious and political views. Prof. Asher Cohen, who studies its sociological and political structure, estimated its (growing) power at 14 to 16 Knesset seats. Smotrich’s party, which won six, thus represents less than half of it.

Alongside (or above) the party, this industrious lawmaker also set up a rabbinical organization: The Rabbis of Religious Zionism. Rabbis who get involved in politics do not necessarily comply with the adage of our sages, according to which “Torah scholars increase peace in the world.” Nevertheless, their inroads into the political arena, where........

© Haaretz

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