Why there is no Anglo vote

Polls show that if only those under the age of 45 would be able to vote, The Bayit Yehudi would be the largest party in the country and Naftali Bennett would be prime minister.

January 14, 2013 21:39
4 minute read.
New immigrants pose upon arrival

New immigrants pose upon arrival 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh)


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Even the most insightful pundits are having trouble making sense of the meteoric rise of the Bayit Yehudi in what is widely considered the most interesting election season in a generation. While many propose rather complex socioeconomic factors behind this phenomenon, in my opinion this is simply an issue of being in the right place at the right time.

During the primaries, as I traveled throughout the country engaging primarily English-speaking voters, a certain theme began to emerge which I believe sheds light on why the Bayit Yehudi is exciting and mobilizing, not only the Anglos in Israel, but the nation as a whole.

A brief interaction I overheard at a campaign event in Netanya between one of our volunteers and an oleh from the UK sums it all up. As the oleh was walking into the event, the well-meaning volunteer was handing out flyers and saying “Vote Bayit Yehudi – they will be your Anglo representation in the Knesset.”

The oleh seemed taken aback, even offended, and responded “I do not vote based on who will serve my interests. I cast my vote for who I believe will best serve the interests of the State of Israel. There is no ‘Anglo vote.’” After the primaries, we were approached by Naftali Bennet who asked us to run the “Anglo Campaign” for the Bayit Yehudi. Being the son of two idealistic US olim, Naftali seemed to immediately understand what many others struggle to wrap their minds around: Anglos are not sectoral.

From Marzel to Meretz, Anglos vote for who they believe will best further the interests of the Jewish people, both in Israel and around the world. If Anglos were a sectoral people, they would not have left the individual comforts and luxuries of the Diaspora to be part of the Jewish State – to take their place on the center stage of our nation’s destiny.

Anglos are not united by entitlements or interests, rather by mission and values. An Anglo campaign, we explained, will focus primarily on the values that unite us and the ideals that brought us here.

Naftali agreed fully and so the campaign began.

AT ONE of our first events on the campaign trail up in Ma’alot, we shared our vision of a values-based Zionist party becoming consensus, positioned among the largest and most influential parties in the country.

With a jaded cynicism resulting from decades of disappointing attempts at bringing about a movement of this nature, an American woman who made aliyah upon the completion of high school nearly 40 years ago told us that while she applauded our youthful idealism, she would not sign up for the party as she has “seen this a hundred times and it never amounted to anything.

Why would this be any different?” she asked.

“That was then and this is now,” I answered. “Now is the time!” The departure from sectoral interests and individualism in favor of values and national consciousness is not solely an Anglo phenomenon.

Polls show that if only those under the age of 45 would be able to vote, The Bayit Yehudi would be the largest party in the country and Naftali Bennett would be prime minister.

I believe that this unparalleled explosion of support by the youth of this country is an expression of a much deeper transformation. It expresses a move away from small minded “old school politics” and the self-imposed labels, boxes and borders that divide us.

After 64 years, we are beginning to see Israel not as a country of refugees seeking to further our own sectoral interests but as a nation that has returned to our land with a common mission and shared destiny.

The Jewish soul of the nation of Israel is waking up and seeking expression. We desire unity, not despite our differences, but because of them. It does not matter whether we go to synagogue on Shabbat or throw a frizbee on the beach – whether we wait between meat and milk or mix them together.

A strong Jewish identity transcends these differences and the pride of being a Jew is not dependent upon them.

What matters is we are all a family and Israel is our home – our enemies understand that, the time has come for us to understand it as well.

“The hearts of the fathers will be turned to their children,” the prophet says. While this revolution, like most, is beginning with the youth, it is not ending there.

The day after that event in Ma’alot, I received a call from the jaded olah who adamantly refused to join the party. “After the event last night I went home and spoke to my son,” she said. “He convinced me that we can’t stop trying – that this time would be different. Sign me up.”

Jeremy Gimpel is the co-Founder of The Land of Israel.com a Pro-Israel media and activist organization and is #14 on the Bayit Yehudi list for Knesset.

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