On Sunday night, Rabbi Tzvi Tau, the religious leader of the Noam faction within the Religious Zionism coalition, issued a letter expressing support for the formation of a right-wing minority government supported by the United Arab List and/or the Arab Ra’am party. Ra’am is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Coalition with Arabs
The letter came just 48 hours before the deadline for PM Netanyahu to form a coalition government. Netanyahu is at an impasse since Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party refuses to join a government led by Netanyahu. Bibi’s hopes to form a coalition without Sa’ar are stymied by Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party refusing to join a government that includes Ra’am. Right-wing intransigence could result in the formation of a left-wing coalition.
Rabbi Tau’s letter bears the message that a right-wing coalition that includes Arab parties is preferable to a left-wing coalition of non-Arab parties.
“The plot of far-left elements that push for a ‘state of all its citizens,’ is not just to oust Netanyahu and form a government the diplomatic-security policy of which would be hollow and may severely undermine our position against Iran, it could also undercut the integrity of our land while promoting the false idea of ‘two states for two peoples’,” Rabbi Tau wrote.
“The extreme progressive Left is ready to implement its dangerous ideas such as the cancelation of the Nation-State Law and declaring the state as a state of all its citizens [a non-Jewish state],” Rabbi Tau wrote. “Such dangerous thoughts and plans are disastrous, and in and of themselves constitute a terrible desecration of the Name of God as well as hurting the great sanctification of the Name of God [which is participating] in the ingathering of the exiles for the great revival in the Land of Israel.”
“Moreover, they [left-wing elements] pose a much graver threat when it comes to weakling the claim to a nation-state. The radical, ‘progressive’ Left is ready to implement its dangerous ideas such as repealing the Nation-State Law and declaring [Israel as] ‘a state of all its citizens,’ undermining the IDF, and promoting ‘postmodern ideas in general, such as the distortion of personal and family concepts, the separation of religion from the state, harming the sacred status of Shabbat and abolishing the Chief Rabbinate thus creating a separation between the parts of the nation.”
At the same time, Rabbi Tau admitted that the alternative is also undesirable.
“Relying on non-Jews to form a government [also] constitutes a great desecration of the Name,” he wrote. But in choosing between two evils, the rabbi chose Ra’am since, with four seats, it would wield considerably less influence than the left-wing parties. He based his opinion on the Talmud which concludes that “greater is the sanctification of the Name [by violating a commandment] than the desecration of the Name [for no good reason].” This principle allows a Jew to violate one commandment for the sake of a greater Biblical mandate.
This political opinion borders on a rabbinic ruling and emphasizes the rift that has grown between the religious right-wing and the secular left-wing.
In his letter, Rabbi Tau expressed support for Netanyahu, praising him for “empowering Israel to stand against her enemies who are seeking our destruction … and bringing medical and economic healing from the Corona pandemic.” The rabbi claimed that criticism of Netanyahu came from “various factors that are trying to weaken Israel by means of deceitful propaganda [including the fabrication of] hateful legal documents against a prime minister.”
Religious Zionism Party head Bezalel Smotrich reacted by releasing a statement with Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben-Gvir saying their opinion “has not changed. We will not allow for the government to rely on terrorist sympathizers nor will we allow Mansour Abbas to gain any [political] power.”
“Anyone who thinks about forming such a government that would endanger the Jewish state will bear the mark of Cain until the end of his life,” said the party in a statement.
“MK Betzalel Smotrich clarified the matter last night to the Prime Minister at their meeting and even made it clear to him that he will use all the tools at his disposal to ensure that such a government is not formed in any circumstance, on either side of the political map.
“It is very unfortunate that Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has declared above all that he will in no way form a government with supporters of terrorism, is working tirelessly to form just such a government.”
Other religious authorities are also choosing a union with Arabs over one with secular left-wing Jews. Last month, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in mainstream Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, said that it was permissible for right-wing and religious Jewish parties to join with the Islamist faction Ra’am and that doing so was preferable to joining with secular parties. Rabbi Kanievsky reasoned that the Orthodox community has much in common with Muslims, namely tradition and religion, values the secular left-wing eschews.
At the same time, Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List (Ra’am), made a speech calling for unity, joining Arabs and Israelis. Many were skeptical, noting that the message he gave in Arabic was significantly different than the one he gave in Hebrew.
Secular left-wing as a modern-day mixed multitude
Many rabbis are wary of political or social connections with the secular left-wing, perceiving them as the modern equivalent of the erev rav (the mixed multitude).
Moreover, a mixed multitude went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds. Exodus 12:38
According to Rabbi Isaac Luria Ashkenazi, a 16th-century mystic known by the acronym ‘Arizal’, in every generation, the souls of the Erev Rav are reincarnated in numerous individuals.
The Zohar, which is the foundational text for Kabbalistic thought, writes that the Erev Rav not only exists in each generation, but it continues to be the cause for most of the problems affecting the Jewish people. Currently, the term “Erev Rav” is used by Jews in a derogatory manner describing someone who is perceived as a traitor. The Zohar says that as long as the Erev Rav exists, the Final Redemption cannot come. The Erev Rav is not interested in the welfare of Israel. They are only concerned about what the nations of the world think even if it comes at the expense of the Jewish nation.
The Vilna Gaon further describes the Erev Rav as people who are argumentative and egotistical. They run after money and honor and they are dishonest in that what they say is not necessarily how they feel.
In a previous interview with Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prominent end of days expert, noted that even in Biblical times, the mixed multitude appeared like normal members of the society without any external signs identifying them as evil.
“If you went back in time to the Exodus, you would have been shocked to see that many of the mixed multitude were good husbands and fathers, and very nice people,” Rabbi Winston said. “But they literally worshipped evil.”
Rabbi Winston was less concerned about the Arabs.
“Arabs, or Yishmael, are not the problem,” Rabbi Winston explained. “Their purpose as the name Yishmael (God will hear) implies, is to get us to cry out to God. From the moment we left Egypt, the mixed multitude used all of their guile to pull people away from the Torah and to grab control. The mixed multitude is the real enemy in the end of days. Their job is to confuse everyone.”
“This is their last throes before the end,” he said, noting the massive unrest around the world caused by the left-wing.