Likud, Kadima battle for Orthodox votes

Fliers bearing parties' slants on weekly Torah portion line synagogue shelves.

orthodox voters 88 (photo credit: )
orthodox voters 88
(photo credit: )
After Kadima received an endorsement from religious kibbutz movement yeshiva head Yoel Bin-Nin, the Likud set out to attract religious-Zionist voters on Monday by printing 100,000 copies of "Likudati," the party's new leaflet on the Torah portion of the week. The leaflet will be distributed for the first time on Friday night at Orthodox synagogues across the country. Synagogue-goers normally have a choice between a selection of flyers on the Torah portion of the week that include advertisements for Shas, United Torah Judaism and the National Union-National Religious Party. Some of the advertisements for the parties are overt, and others are weaved into the subtext of the articles written by rabbis on the Torah portion of the week. The head of the Likud's campaign in the religious-Zionist sector, Prof Gabi Avital, said the Likud had its roots in tradition and could appeal to Orthodox voters who want to strengthen the Right. "Our nationalist values cannot be allowed to become the property of [the religious-Zionist] sector alone or they could be lost to the general public," Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu wrote in the leaflet. "Only by voting Likud will it be possible to maintain national unity and transmit the Jewish heritage and values to Jews as a whole." In a rarity for a flyer distributed in Orthodox synagogues, the leaflet contains a picture of a woman - religious-Zionist Likud MK Lea Nass - who is 17th on the list, along with five other Orthodox candidates: MK Yuli Edelstein (15), Avital (20), Dudu Maimon (22), Zion Pinyan (26) and Shmuel Slavin (29). The leaflet also includes an article by Avital on how the lessons taught by Mordechai in the Book of Esther should convince people to vote for the Likud. NU-NRP MK Nisan Slomiansky called the leaflet "chutzpahdik" and scoffed at the notion that Mordechai would have voted for the Likud. "The Likud is acting like Esav, who returned from committing horrible crimes and then pretended to be pious before Isaac to win his blessings," Slomiansky said. "After years of Likud rule destroyed religious education and the sanctity of Shabbat, it takes chutzpah to put out a flyer with a few Torah articles to try to win votes from religious-Zionists. The people are not stupid and they will know better."