Shlomo Alegra
Shlomo Alegra

Why I have decided to vote Shas in the 2021 elections

My first time voting as an Israeli citizen was during my mandatory military service in 2015 where I decided to vote Yahad.

Yahad came nowhere close to even passing the threshold and my vote ended up going in the trash.

Following the Israeli election, I was disenchanted with the Israeli-far right because as much as I supported them.

Far-right Israeli parties almost never made it into the Knesset and even if they did make it in did not join a coalition or have a significant agenda with real policies.

Moshe Feiglin’s party Zehut actually had a significant agenda with serious economic policies and practical ideas to improve the state.

Feiglin failed to even pass the threshold and his party was thrown into the trash bin of Israeli politics and I wasted my vote.

The last election I voted for Likud because of my concern about losing a right-wing majority in the coalition.

Experiencing the Corona Pandemic and having lived in Israel for the past eight years I see a troubling sign of Israelis losing connection with Judaism.

The haredi community has suffered greatly from the pandemic with many Haredim being hospitalized for not following social distancing or wearing masks.

Imposing a second lockdown during the summer because of an increase in infections caused UTJ and Shas to criticize the government because they were looking to lock down only red cities.

To prevent the coalition from falling apart Netanyahu imposed an entire lockdown on all regions and cities regardless of their corona status.

People have been blaming the Ultra-Orthodox for the pandemic and placing everyone else in the country in lockdown.

Anti-Ultra Orthodox sentiment is nothing new and there have been many people who rally against Ultra-Orthodox policies.

Secular Israelis complain about how they have to go to Cyprus to get married to their non-Jewish fiancée.

Secular Jewish Israelis complain how they can not use public transportation, shop in malls or go to restaurants on the Sabbath.

One of the biggest reasons for secular Israelis feeling this way is a lack of education of understanding what being Jewish actually means.

Secular schools in Israel do not dedicate any time to teach Jewish morals and thought to their students.

This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Jewish students finishing high school without any kind of Jewish education or identity.

Secular Jews have been protesting Shabbat rules and fighting against the Rabbinute without actually understanding what Judaism actually is about.

I do not expect all secular Jews to drop their lifestyle and join Orthodox Judaism.

I would like to see secular Jews embracing certain aspects of Judaism that they would be comfortable taking upon themselves.

In no way would I want people to be forced to be religious against their will like in theocratic countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia where people begin to hate religion if it’s forced down their throats.

Avigdor Lieberman is one of the reasons I have moved to become a Shas voter in this upcoming election.

Lieberman left the coalition with Netanyahu several times because of his refusal to work with ultra-orthodox Jews.

Israeli politics requires different parties with different agendas to make a government work.

No party can fully implement all their agendas on the Israeli Public because there has to be great compromises made within the coalition.

Refusing to cooperate with two parties who represent 1.3 million Israelis, which in the next twenty years will be thirty percent of the population only creates animosity.

Left-wing parties have been pushing for civil marriage, gay marriage, reform and conservative conversions run contrary to all Jewish beliefs and values.

I do not have any desire to live in the Jewish version of theocratic Iran or Saudi Arabia.

I do want to see some aspects of Jewish law and values represented in the Jewish government of Israel.

Control of conversions by Orthodox Judaism, have laws that uphold Jewish law and teaching Judaism in schools so that secular Israelis can have some form of Jewish Education.

Secular Israelis today who have been educated through the Israeli secular public high schools know nothing of what being Jewish actually means.

Poor Jewish education such as what exists today will lead to intermarriage, desecration of Jewish values and the complete elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

We can not allow for this to happen so there must be legislation in place to educate Jews about what it means to be a Jew and protect our traditions.

United Torah Judaism as much as they support many of my values can never get my vote because they are not Zionistic.

Israel without any real basis in Torah values can only be Jewish in name.

For that reason, I am voting Shas in this election.

About the Author
Shlomo was born in Miami, Florida in 1989 and moved to Israel in 2012. He holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science and served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. After serving in the military Shlomo studied in Yeshivat Shavie Hevron where he lived in Hebron. He now lives in Kiryat Arba, is a proud reservist in the Golani Brigade, and is a blogger for the Times of Israel.
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