Yisrael Beytenu sees Israel as a Jewish State – as opposed to a state for the Jewish people or a state of its citizens. This means that Israel must be loyal to the values of its ancestors and the dreams of its founders, pioneers and defenders.
The Jewish people’s loyalty to its faith and values has stood by us in both the difficult and glorious moments.
Yisrael Beytenu seeks the ideal way of securing the central role of Judaism in our modern lives such that no injury is done to tradition or the values of tolerance and religious freedom.
Yisrael Beytenu has identified five policy-areas in which the perpetuation of Jewish values must be secured, taking care to protect our personal freedom:
- Education – School must be the gateway to a thorough familiarity with the Jewish canon – the Bible, Talmud and other crucial books that form our tradition. Festivals and other significant moments on the Jewish calendar should be part of every Jew’s basic knowledge. Through education, we want to ensure that every Jew has both an intellectual and emotion connection to our tradition. Of course coercion has no role in an education process whose desired result is an enthusiastic and sincere love of Judaism.
- Marriage and Divorce – Yisrael Beytenu views the right to marry and have a family as one the foremost expressions of self-realization. Everyone should be able to do so without too much government interference. Yisrael Beytenu’s “Covenant of Partnership” is a balanced approach to Jewish marriage that removes unnecessary obstacles and resolves many of the current problems in the marriage and divorce processes.
- Conversion – Israel must welcome everyone who sincerely wishes to join the Jewish people. Yisrael Beytenu believes that the conversion process must be simplified and user-friendly to conversion candidates – without compromising Jewish law. Community rabbis should be recognized as competent to perform conversions, as was customary in the past. The removal of such authority and its transfer to a small number of rabbis created a bottleneck that left many people waiting as much as years for their conversion. We would also like to see the expansion of conversions in the army. The “Tzohar Law” proposed by MK Faina Kirshenbaum and military conversion law proposed by MK David Rotem are impressive examples of party activity in this area.
- Shabbat – Shabbat is a day of rest both for religious and non religious Jews. Its special cultural role is of national importance and should not be compromised. Yisrael Beyenu believes that everyone is entitled to observe Shabbat as she or he wishes – free of coercion or criticism. Yisrael Beytenu would like to see the running of public transportation on Shabbat – but in a way that is sensitive to the religious community.
- Religion and state – Yisrael Beytenu opposes the separation of religion and state. Such a separation would cause great societal tension. In Judaism, religion and nationality are inexorably connected. Of course conflict arises when religion plays a role in the political process. But Yisrael Beytenu firmly believes that through compromise and sensitivity to others, we can find solutions. We see no conflict between Israel’s being a Jewish state and a democratic state.
Let us all work for Judaism without hindrance!