July 25th, 2010

torah

Bronner's take on the Rotem bill - Should we blame the Dati Leumi?

In yesterday's NYTimes, in an article about the fracas over MK Rotem's "Who is a Jew" bill, Ethan Bronner writes the following in his analysis of how we got here (emphasis added):

[T]he chief rabbinate, which for decades was in the hands of Orthodox Zionist parties, is now largely controlled by the non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox, who are both more liturgically rigid and less concerned with building Israel, integrating Russian speakers or keeping American Jews on board. This came about largely because the Zionist Orthodox movement had focused so heavily in recent years on settlement building in the West Bank and allowed control of religious issues to slip from its hands.

I've opined elsewhere that while Diaspora Jewry has been the canary in this coalmine, this is really the latest salvo in the charedi attack on the legitimacy of the dati leumi and the chilonim. Bronner's analysis, though, is the first one I've seen to state that the reason the charedim have been able to get this far is that the dati leumi took their eyes off the ball.

[Glossary: charedi = "ultra-orthodox"; dati leumi = "Orthodox Zionist"; chilonim = "secularists"]

Discuss. (Civilly.)