Dov Lipman
Member of the 19th Knesset
Featured Post

An open letter to Naftali Bennet

A plea to the Jewish Home party chair not to sacrifice his principles for a cabinet post

Dear Naftali,

Please, please be strong, and don’t cave. You are a man with values, and you represent a population that has strong principles. Represent them. And don’t give in just to sit in the next government.

The first issue of concern is the Religious Services Ministry: How can you, representing religious Zionism, possibly allow control over religious services to return to the hands of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party? What happened to your commitment to a more moderate and embracing approach to religion, which our country so desperately needs?

The second issue is conversion: Are you going to join a coalition which plans to rescind a government decision to make conversion more accessible, especially for the hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Russian immigrants who moved to Israel under the Law of Return? What happened to your concern for the entire nation?

The third issue is employment, general education, and army/national service for the ultra-Orthodox population: Are you really going to sit in a government that plans to shift funding back to rabbinic seminaries instead of employment training? Which will restore significant funding to ultra-Orthodox schools that don’t teach Basic English and math? Can you look yourself in the mirror after going along with planned changes to the draft law – which you and your party were such a major part of crafting and passing?

And the fourth issue is the cabinet: I know Ayelet Shaked is an important person in your party, and an impressive leader. But will you really support undoing a law to reduce the number of ministers — which you voted for! — simply to offer her a ministry?

There comes a time when leaders have to stand for something. Naftali, if you join the government and give in on all these issues, then what do you stand for? What will voters make of your word – you campaigned on representing secular Jews, but then turn your back on them just to enter the government?

Naftali — this is your moment of truth. As someone who has gotten to know you and has seen your potential leadership qualities up close, I hope you will be strong and do what is right.

If not, then your name will unfortunately be added to the list of those “could have beens,” party leaders who chose the honor of ministerial positions instead of the glory of leading with principles and values.

And that would be a real shame.



About the Author
Dov Lipman was elected to the 19th Knesset in January 2013. He is the author of nine books about Judaism and Israel, and holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. He has been at the forefront of combating religious extremism in Israel and is a leader in efforts to create Jewish unity both in Israel and around the world. Former MK Lipman is invited to speak on behalf of the Jewish state both in Israel and around the world and serves as a political commentator for i24 News and ILTV. He is the founder and CEO of Yad L'Olim, an NGO that assists and advocates for Olim from around the world.