Yosef Burg's widow endorses Kadima

Rivka Burg is keeping her membership in NRP, but casting her vote elsewhere.

Among the latest to come out in support of the Kadima Party is the widow of one of the more famous National Religious Party's veteran leaders, Yosef Burg, who died in 1999. While his widow, Rivka, is keeping the party membership she's held since the NRP was founded in 1956, she's casting her vote elsewhere, partially in opposition to the party's decision to jointly run with the National Union. "It's not the same NRP, now it's [with] the National Union. The spirit and the purpose the party stood for is gone," she told The Jerusalem Post. Her decision to vote Kadima was based in part on the fact that her son-in-law Menahem Ben-Sasson is 20th on Kadima's Knesset list. She recalls that she similarly voted for her son, Avraham Burg, when he ran on the Labor ticket, but has otherwise voted for the NRP. The question of whether her husband would have switched his vote allegiances was not relevant, because had he remained in politics, "It would all have been different," she said. By contrast, a number of other members of the NRP's executive committee said they believed the union between the two right-wing parties was the right step. Most importantly the union brings peace to a population that was tired of conflict, said executive committee member Haim Shekalim. The right-wing voters had been blaming both sides for failing to find common ground for a joint platform. Former party secretary Danny Vermus helped heal a rift in the religious Zionist camp, since a number of National Union members had already split off from the NRP. The union allowed these people to return to their original base, Vermus said. Miriam Rechtman said that her family, which traditionally had voted NRP, was split this year on the issue, with her children wanting to vote for the National Union. Communities and synagogues were also split on this issue. The decision by both parties to run together "solved a problem for many people who were unsure whom to vote for," said Rechtman, who was on her way to her first joint meeting with National Union members to plot campaign strategy.