Students in Israeli Religious Zionist high schools are demanding that the four religious parties running in this election – Jewish Home, Yachad-Ha'am Itanu, Shas, and United Torah Jewry – put up a united front, and work together to ensure that the next government take seriously their positions on matters of state and religion.
Thousands of students signed an online petition urging the leaders of the parties to work together. “We, who include thousands of students in the upper grades of Religious Zionist high schools, are set to vote in our first elections,” the petition read. “We are concerned about the present situation, and fear that political competition between the religious parties will hurt our chances to advance, regardless of our educational or army service track.
“Our power is in our unity,” the petition said. “Now more than ever we must ensure that we observe this dictum. The parties must unite after the election to present a united front to whomever forms the next government.”
Of particular concern, the petition said, was the erosion of the status quo on religious matters, in which the rules and relationship of secular versus religious needs in the social and public sphere were balanced. Recent attempts to erode that status quo – such as attempts to implement public transportation on Shabbat – must be addressed, the petition said. “The status quo enables the Jewish people to remain a united people, ensuring that all can live together, but according to their own convictions, while ensuring the minimal conditions for Jewish life in Israel.
As students who live their lives according to Jewish values and the Torah, we see you, the leaders, as our representatives to ensure that our interests are taken into consideration,” the petition said. “We thus call on you to ensure that during coalition negotiations that the parties unite to ensure that the Jewish character of Israel remains intact.”