(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rabbi Dov Lipman, a Beit Shemesh-based community activist and educator, has
announced his intention to run for a seat in Knesset under the banner of
renegade Shas MK Haim Amsalem’s newly established Am Shalem party.
RELATED:Amsalem launches alternative to Shas Amsalem's refreshing presence
would serve as the representative of the party’s Anglo faction, which he
Amsalem generated press several months ago, when in
defiance of the Shas party platform, he came out in favor of military service
for yeshiva students and criticized the lack of secular content in the ultra-
Orthodox educational system.
“These studies are not only important in
terms of the students’ capacity to find a future in the general professions, but
also for the sake of Torah study itself: You need to understand those core
subjects in order to better understand the Gemara,” he told The Jerusalem Post
in January. Gemara is the text of rabbinic analysis of Jewish
Amsalem’s positions, seemingly more suited to a representative of a
National Religious Party, resulted in his expulsion from Shas and led to his
establishment of Am Shalem (Unified People).
Prior to his expulsion,
Amsalem issued a scathing critique of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas’s spiritual
guide, and told Israeli television that he wanted “to see a party with a proud
constituency of people who earn a living and bring others closer to a
Lipman, who grew up in Silver Springs, Maryland, and made aliya
in 2004, follows a similar philosophy. In addition to having extensive
experience in local politics, Lipman served as a self-described
“liaison/mediator” between the ultra-Orthodox, nationalreligious and secular
communities in Beit Shemesh, a town known for religious conflict.
recent years I have gotten involved in local politics in Beit Shemesh,
specifically regarding the issue of the haredi community coming in and taking
over the city,” Lipman wrote in a blog post announcing his candidacy.
have worked hard for unity and to make sure that all populations receive
whatever is magiya [deserving] to them without preference to one over another.
My constant theme is that we are all Jews without these boxes that we are all
put in here in Israel.”
Lipman said in recent months he grew closer to
Amsalem because of his desire to strengthen the nation of Israel and the State
of Israel from within.
Decrying the increasing polarization of Israeli
society, Lipman, who heads “Anglos for Am Shalem” and whose placement on the
party’s list is dependent on the number of members he can bring to the movement,
said Israel “is decaying from the inside.”
“The secular have become more
secular with almost no Judaism and in some cases even little Zionism in their
The haredim have less and less secular education and are even
more cut off from the rest of the country,” he said.
Another issue that
Amsalem and Lipman consider urgent is the plight of the over 300,000 Russian
immigrants of Jewish descent who “are not being allowed to convert.”
problem, if not solved, could lead to mass intermarriage and assimilation in the
coming years, constituting “another decay from within,” Lipman said.
elected, Lipman said he would work to increase the Jewish and Zionist content in
secular schools while “enabling and empowering haredim to study Torah while
receiving higher education.”
Lipman also said he is “the only
representative for Anglo olim and helping them with their needs.”
he would work for more incentives for North Americans to make
Lipman has gathered around 400 signatures, has begun setting up a
network in various cities with seven municipal representatives already on board,
and he said he plans on holding a “major meeting” of community representatives
in Jerusalem soon.