The Religious Zionist Party, led by MK and former transportation minister Bezalel Smotrich, launched its Anglo outreach campaign on Monday ahead of next month’s election aimed at the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who made aliyah from English-speaking countries.
Under the slogan Ensuring Israel’s Jewish Identity, the campaign will focus on the party’s agenda directed at those who want to “preserve and even bolster Israel’s Jewish identity,” according to a party press release.
“Israeli citizens who originate from English-speaking countries are generally passionate Zionists and deeply committed to ensuring Israel’s Jewish identity, an issue which we passionately share at the Religious Zionist Party,” Smotrich said. “Our party is a natural home for Anglos who are disproportionately religious and traditional, and are on the Right-wing of Israel’s political spectrum. So we would like to be their voice on these issues in the next Knesset.”
“Israeli citizens who originate from English-speaking countries are generally passionate Zionists and deeply committed to ensuring Israel’s Jewish identity, an issue which we passionately share at the Religious Zionist Party.”Bezalel Smotrich
A recent poll surveying Anglo-Israelis found over 28% said they will vote for the Religious Zionist party in the upcoming election, the largest share of any party, with Likud receiving the next largest share at 16%.
Anglo Israelis likely to vote for the Religious Zionist party
Asked what issues they cared about most, the poll found that the largest share of recipients chose Israel’s Jewish identity at 35%, absorption of olim (new immigrants) into Israel at 23%, and promoting aliyah at 20%.
“It is clear to me as someone close to the Anglo community that what they care about, and the values and issues they hold dear, are the same as the foundational principles of the Religious Zionist Party,” said MK Simcha Rothman. “While some would like to weaken Israel’s Jewish identity, we know the overwhelming majority of Anglo Israelis, and Israelis in general, are committed to doing the opposite. Olim from English-speaking countries came to Israel precisely because it is the national homeland of the Jewish People, and so we need to ensure that its Jewish identity is protected and strengthened.”
On the list of party candidates for the next Knesset is Rabbi David Fine, originally a pulpit rabbi in Kansas City and Milwaukee and founder of The Anglo Vision, a movement of English-speaking Israelis who seek to form a community around issues that it cares about and get the message to decision-makers. Fine is low on the list and is not considered a realistic future MK in the upcoming election.
“I have met with a lot of leaders of different parties that showed interest in the Anglo vote but not Anglo issues,” said Fine. “The Religious Zionist Party is the only party that consistently raises the flag on issues that are important to Israelis from English-speaking countries. I have found a natural and welcoming home for our community among all the leaders and activists within the party, who understand our passion for contribution and to effect positive and long-lasting change in our beloved State of Israel.”
The party has opened a Facebook page for the campaign that will explain its positions to the English-speaking public on issues like the importance of ensuring Israel’s Jewish identity, reforming the judicial system and the educational system, and defending the IDF and the security forces. MKs, members of the party list, and party activists will also be spending time on the streets in the coming weeks in prominent Anglo areas to try and explain why citizens should choose to vote for the Religious Zionist Party.
In addition, the World Mizrachi movement, led by chairman Rabbi Doron Peretz, and senior Mizrachi representatives in the management of the World Zionist Organization, Gael Greenwald and Roi Abecassis, met with Smotrich at the Religious Zionist Party headquarters on Monday. Ohad Tal, a former deputy director at World Mizrachi who headed the Religious Zionist Shlichut Center, and was also the former director-general of World Bnei Akiva, also attended the meeting, as a party candidate for the Knesset.
“At the meeting, Smotrich and his team discussed the values of the religious Zionist public in its various shades, and the importance of instilling these values among the Jewish communities around the world,” according to a press release.