Yesterday, two new rabbis were elected to the post of “city rabbis” in Petach Tikva. After three years of political wrangling, a deal was struck between the charedi Shas party and the national-religious Mafdal party. The brother of a Shas minister was elected as the Sephardi rabbi (no surprises here), and Micah HaLevy was elected as the Ashkenazi rabbi.
I’m not going to go here into the waste of public money and resources that surround the entire concept of “city rabbis”. As a religious Jew living in Petach Tikva, I have no use for these rabbis. I’m pretty confident the secular majority in the city has no use for them either.
What caught my eye this morning was the picture of Micah HaLevy, the national-religious Ashkenazi rabbi, pictured below on the right:
Now, if I were to show you this picture and ask: what religious movement does the rabbi on the right belong to? I’m betting the vast majority will answer: charedi. (A few connoisseurs might ask themselves why rabbi Stav is shaking a charedi rabbi’s hand). With the hat, the beard and the black suit, Micah HaLevy looks entirely charedi.
This picture symbolises the sad reality of the national religious movement in Israel. The “charedisation” of this movement is a well-known thing. It turns out that even when it is Mafdal, the national religious party, manages to secure a political post for a rabbi, the candidate needs to look and dress like a charedi. Gone are the days where the national religious were proud of the fact that they looked and dressed like the general population.