Religion Magazine

When Personalities Are the Issue

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The fighting between the different factions in UTJ (and add Shas to the picture) over municipal elections in various cities has gone from a minor, and even amusing distraction that I assumed would all be worked out when everyone finishes calling each other's bluffs and as we get pretty close to elections everything will just fall into place. As it usually works out with them.
And it still might. But as of right now it looks to have gotten much worse than in previous years and each faction is holding their ground, and even taking additional steps to ramp up the conflict even further to the point of no return. They all still might be bluffing and work things out at the last minute, but the way it looks now that would be much more surprising.
It is kind of sad to see this deterioration in the relations between them. It is really based on nothing significant. The parties all believe in almost exactly the same ideologies and have almost the same positions on almost all the issues. The difference between them is minimal, if at all. In one party the representatives came 70 years ago from Poland, and in the other they came 70 years ago from Morocco and in the third from Lithuania. Besides for that, they want to increase the level of kedusha, the level of public shabbos observance, to keep the yeshiva boys who want to learn out of a forced draft to the army, to keep money flowing to the frum school systems and yeshivas, and the like. The differences between the factions are extremely minimal. Yet they can't get along.
The main differences that keep them from getting along are if the guy with Polish descent should be the mayor in this or that city or if the guy with Lithuanian descent should be the mayor or the sefardi guy should be the mayor.
It is like watching a slow burn. And yes, it is sad. It is sad that the frum leadership can't get along and it is only because of this issue - Polish or Lithuanian or Russian or Moroccan descent and not because of the need to promote different ideals or policies. As if the mayor is hassidic or litvish or sefardi  makes such a major difference in anything. It is sad the issues are not what is considered important but the personalities are, and that that is what is used to divide.
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