Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Barkat Zigzag and National Religious Gullibility

The more I learn about Nir Barkat, the more I realize how unfit he is to be Jerusalem's Mayor. The assumption that someone who is a successful high-tech entrepreneur will make a successful mayor is has no legs to stand on. Politics is a totally different game with different rules. Different talents are needed.

Barkat's political career is a series of zigzags. He started with a Tommy Lapid like anti-ultra-Orthodox agenda. After the expulsion from Gush-Katif and the pogrom in Amona, Barkat joined the Kadima party and lead its campaign in Jerusalem. In January 2006 Barkat stated,
"They created a party around my opinions and around my 'I believe'. There is mutual appreciation between Olmert and myself. Kadima is the body that is fit to lead Israel at this time."
Today Nir Barkat is courting the religious Zionists in Jerusalem with a promise of "true partnership". If you believe him I have a great deal for you: There is a bridge that connects Manhattan with Brooklyn that you might be interested in purchasing from me.

What's amazing is that there are National Religious (NR) voters in Jerusalem that are going to vote for Barkat. I am not kidding! There are a variety of reasons for this:

1) Some NRs feel closer to the secular than to the ultra-Orthodox. They spend more time in front of the television than in the Beit Midrash. They are more likely to read Ha'aretz than to open up a Gemara. You can imagine what kind of bizarre Weltanschauung someone like this develops. These characters are the poster children of cognitive dissonance.

2) Some NRs hate Hareidim. It's a shame but it's true. Sometimes this is a result of bad experiences with members of the ultra-Orthodox community. Sometimes it is a result of bad NR education. That is to say, sometimes the NR educators attack the Hareidim in order to justify themselves and their way of life. The results of this type of education are disastrous. (The same thing happens in the Hareidi world. Some of them hate the NRs. They attack the NRs and their way of life in order to justify themselves. Again, the results are a disaster.)

3) Some NRs suffer from a terrible inferiority complex. They feel like second-rate Zionists. (This problem is more prevalent among the over 50 crowd, those that remember Ben Gurion). They search for acceptance from the secular, and will do things that should not be done and say things that should not be said in order to gain favor in secular eyes.

4) Every community has its share of naive and vulnerable people.

Personally, I am going to vote for Meir Porush. No, I don't think that he will deliver on all of his promises. However, the Rambam taught us to choose God fearing people to be our leaders. What's more, if I compare his resume with that of Barkat, there is really no contest. Porush's experience in government, whether it be on a municipal level or whether it be on a national level, far surpasses that of Barkat. "Barkat has the money, but Porush has the receipts." Just as Nir Barkat would not hire an inexperienced programmer to be a project leader in one of his start ups, I will not vote for an inexperienced politician to be my mayor. In a better world, this would be obvious to all. However, in our world of media advisers and media spins, anything can be sold to the gullible. And in a country where a labor union leader is appointed to be the Defense Minister, anyone can be mayor of Jerusalem.


Rafi G. said...

Go Porush! He is great, and will be great for jerusalem as mayor.

Cosmic X said...

Let's hope that he wins.

Chai18 said...

generalizations are a great thing

Batya said...

Porush lost. I'm glad I don't live in Jm, neither candidate for me.

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