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Six Takeaways from the Israeli Elections

Binyamin Rose

The young and the disaffected turned out in force, expressing their frustration with monopolistic pricing, stagnant salaries, and exorbitant housing prices, catapulting dozens of rookie MKs into the Knesset. What else happened when Israelis went to the polls last week?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The synagogue in the Knesset might have to add a minyan or two to the daily schedule now that as many as 40 members of the incoming Knesset are religiously observant. The 40 are about equally divided politically and religiously between ultra-Orthodox and several Israeli versions of Modern Orthodoxy.

Even the profoundly secular Yair Lapid included a smattering of Orthodox Jews on Yesh Atid’s slate. Some would credit him for being inclusionary, while skeptics would contend that Lapid’s Orthodox contingent was chosen for their opposition to the chareidi viewpoint.

It will all boil to the surface when thorny issues, such as army service for all and yeshivah funding, come up for debate.

The ultra-Orthodox, even if they make it into the new coalition, are unlikely to be power brokers. United Torah Judaism has reason to celebrate, rising from five to seven seats. Shas held its ground at 11 seats. They’re not overjoyed, but it could have been worse.

Both chareidi parties — Shas and UTJ — will work diligently to protect the Torah world from draconian decrees just as the secular parties will try and pass laws to mainstream chareidim into Israeli society.

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