Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Courage of His Convictions

Yossi Elituv and Aryeh Ehrlich

Gilad Erdan speaks frankly, in measured tones, and without spouting the clichés that politicians so often use. That has endeared him to Likud voters

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

 Mishpacha image

LAND, HO! The courage of Erdan’s convictions enabled him some years back to stand at the Knesset podium, open a Chumash Bereishis, and look the Arab MKs squarely in the eye as he read them the first Rashi, noting how G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jews (Photos: Ezra Trabelsi, Flash90, GPO)

M ost politicians are unafraid to speak their minds — while others are not mindful of what they say.

Gilad Erdan falls squarely into the first category. The number two man on the Likud Party list behind Binyamin Netanyahu, Erdan is near the top of the short list of party members who might one day be prime minister. In the current Knesset, he holds the cabinet posts of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information. Not every Knesset Member, especially those on the left, agrees with Erdan’s positions, but his consistency and ability to express his views without being strident has won him respect even from political opponents.

Growing up in the 1970s in Ashkelon, then a development town along Israel’s Mediterranean coast, Gilad Erdan experienced a series of culture shocks with his family’s sudden decision to enroll him in a top yeshivah high school in Jerusalem.

For one, he had no yeshivah background. Up to that point, he had attended only a public elementary school.

“When I was 13, my father said to me one day, ‘It’s important to me that you attend a top-level yeshivah,’ ” Erdan recalls.

The yeshivah his father chose was Yeshivah Netiv Meir in Bayit Vegan, one of the leading yeshivos in the national-religious stream, under the leadership of rosh yeshivah Rav Aryeh Bina.

“I wanted to make my father happy, so I went there,” Erdan says.

The second adjustment involved getting up to speed in Yiddishkeit.

The Erdans were moderately observant, Gilad recalls. His father, Avinoam, was a Romanian immigrant from a family that included some Vizhnitzer chassidim; his mother, Yehudis, hailed from Hungary. “When I started yeshivah, I didn’t have command of the Shulchan Aruch. I wasn’t aware that you had to tear toilet paper before Shabbos,” Erdan says.

Besides getting used to the details of religious observance, Erdan also found himself ill at ease with some of his classmates, who grew up in upper-class Jerusalem homes. The yeshivah schedule was demanding: Rise and shine at 6:30 a.m. — even earlier during late Elul and early Tishrei for Selichos — and on the go until 8:30 p.m.

Erdan felt out of place. He was also homesick. This was the early 1980s, and the yeshivah had only one public telephone, which was shared by all the students.

Gilad returned home after his first Elul zeman and announced that he was quitting. “Then my father told me, ‘Once you start something in life, you have to finish it.’ ”

Gilad Erdan shares his view with editors Aryeh Ehrlich and Yossi Elituv of the Hebrew language Mishpacha

And Gilad acquiesced to his father’s wishes. He spent four full years in Netiv Meir before enlisting in the IDF, and he retains a strong attachment to Torah learning to this day. He learned how to be a baal korei, and he even earned money during his years in Netiv Meir teaching others to read from the Torah.

But more than that, Gilad Erdan’s yeshivah years equipped him with a keen appreciation for the Land of Israel and molded him into a staunch defender of Eretz Yisrael. Once he got into politics, that background emboldened him to challenge senior Likud Party leaders such as Ariel Sharon and other defectors who had climbed on board the Oslo bandwagon.

“My deep identification with Eretz Yisrael and our legitimate rights to the Land, by virtue of G-d’s promise, is an acquisition from my yeshivah years,” Erdan said. “Much of my ambition, self-confidence, ability to work long, hard hours, and learning how to be resolute were also acquired in yeshivah,” Erdan says.

The courage of Erdan’s convictions enabled him some years back to stand at the Knesset podium, open a Chumash Bereishis, and look the Arab MKs squarely in the eye as he read them the first Rashi, noting how G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jews. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 681)

Related Stories

From Strength to Strength

Binyamin Rose with Eliezer Shulman and Yisrael Yoskowitz

As involved as he was with Israel before his appointment, for Ambassador David Friedman, nothing com...

Man on a Mission

Meir Wolfson

As mayor of Beitar, Rabbi Yitzchak Pindrus never waited for bureaucratic approval if the need was pr...

Torah Triumphs in Passaic

Binyamin Rose, Passaic, New Jersey

Here, progress is measured by how its newcomers succeeded in winding the clock backward, all the way...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you