The most significant political challenge facing the Jewish State is leadership. Currently, there are few Israelis who are capable of motivating or organizing a significant number of people to achieve a common goal. We live in an age in which many politicians prefer polls over ideology.
I joined Bayit Yehudi because I believe that Religious Zionism defines me best and is our best shot for the future of our Jewish and democratic state. It is an ideology built on the three pillars of the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the Torah of Israel.
Over the past few decades there has been a gradual shift in Religious Zionist leaders, evolving from a more spiritual leadership, Israel’s first Chief Rabbis, Rav Kook and Rav Uziel, to a political style of leadership under Bayit Yehudi’s current leader, Naftali Bennett. Education Minister Bennett is the undisputed leader of Bayit Yehudi. He received 90% of the vote in the last primary election, voted on by all party members. Bennett, who has swept a majority of religious Zionists off their feet, is likely to be the leader of the party for many years to come.
However, what will Bayit Yehudi look like in the future, say 15 years from now? The question is of great importance. A party with no long-term planning has no future. That is the question which led me to run for Bayit Yehudi’s Youth Chairman. It is the responsibility of my generation to answer that question. If the Bayit Yehudi seeks to fill the leadership vacuum on the national level we need to be proactive. We need to be the party that creates headlines instead of the party that responds to them. In my view that means we need to highlight the strengths of our community — education, law reform, and of course religion and state issues, including building a bridge between the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities.
My generation has disagreements on how to move forward. I am facing an election for youth chairman of the Bayit Yehudi, a closed election of Central Committee members under the age of 35. I place great importance in recruiting ideological activists for the next Central Committee election and promoting young leaders in party institution and municipal elections to prepare the party for the future. In this election I am in a head-to-head race with a candidate whose platform and ideology suggest he is more focused on the short term.
My focus is to unite the party’s next generation from all sectors of the population while increasing their involvement in day to day party activities. The plan starts with convening a meeting in the Knesset of the 246 Bayit Yehudi Central Committee youth members, during which we will decide on the three most important issues which should be handled by the group.
The second step is to establish a steering committee of 11 people to coordinate Forum activities with the party. The committee will have two representatives from each district (North, South, Central, Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria) and include representation of women and other sectors, including immigrants. Among these representatives, two deputies will be chosen, one male and one female.
Next will be the creation of a cross-party Forum of Youth Chairs from all parties, designed to create a framework of cooperation and promote consensus with other parties’ youth. The way to lead is to find common ground with one’s political opponents. There will be differences of opinion on certain issues, but there are also issues for which solutions can be found and implemented. A cross-party forum will foster an environment of cooperation and respect. It is possible to move forward on some issues, and agree to disagree on others.
The best way to address the most significant political challenge facing the Jewish State is to work on a long-term plan that will not rely on the leadership of one man but will create a framework for religious Zionist leadership through political activism in the Bayit Yehudi Party, one that could yield dozens of future leaders. If we are successful, the next generation of Israeli leaders will come from a school of thought that prefers ideology to polls.