With the announcement Wednesday that Rabbi Moshe Hagar, head of the pre-military academy in Yattir, to the Yachad – Ha'am Itanu list, the party headed by former Shas MK Eli Yishai now has two high-profile members of the Religious Zionist community running with him in the upcoming elections.
In essence, the inclusion of Rabbi Hagar on the list, along with former Jewish Home MK Yoni Chetboun, makes Yishai's party into another Religious Zionist party – and the community cannot afford two, said Rabbi Avichai Ronski, former IDF Chief Rabbi and number 13 on the Jewish Home Knesset list.
“I was very dismayed to hear about the rabbis and community members joining Eli Yishai's list,” Rabbi Ronski said. “It is clear that they will try to run in the upcoming elections, and I have even heard rumors that a prominent rabbinical figure is encouraging another group to establish yet another party.”
That won't do anyone any good, said Rabbi Ronski. “Uniting all Torah-observant Jews – Religious Zionist, hareidi, and traditional – into one single party will apparently be possible only when the Messiah comes, but why split the Religious Zionist voted among several parties? The members of Jewish Home are observant and love the Land of Israel as much or more than others. What is wrong with them as the community's representatives?”
If it was a matter of rabbinical sponsorship, said Rabbi Ronski, then Jewish Home had “support from a very wide range of rabbis of all backgrounds and from all parts of the country.
“They see the need to ensure that there is one large, strong party instead of weak components of several parties. I call on all Religious Zionist voters to join under a single political roof. From there we can examine the issues that people want to discuss. Diluting the political power of the community by splitting our vote among several parties is a major problem, given the problems we are facing,” he added.