Much is made in this country about the seeming conflict that the religious have between Jewish law and democracy. In truth, we have some grave doubts about the democratic system as it stands now in Israel, due to the fact that there is no system of checks and balances in place. Despite this, the religious in general, and the Dati Leumi (national religious) in particular, are proving that we do believe in the electoral system in the clearest way possible - by taking an active part in it.
A poll was taken this past week by Maagar Mochot, under the direction of Professor Yitzchak Katz. He polled young people, aged 18-32, about whether or not they planned to vote. The numbers are shocking - only 17% of this group are sure that they will vote. This statistic does not bode well for the political system as a whole.
When you look at the numbers by sub-group, though, another interesting fact comes to light. The highest percentage of those who said they were planning to vote (probably or definitely) were from the national religious camp, at 61%. The next highest group was the Arab sector at 59%, and the third was the Ultra-Orthodox at 41%. Those who consider themselves traditional came in at 39%, and the last group, the secular, came in at 37%.
The volunteer group called "Moving Right" (Zazim Yemina), interviewed here in Haaretz, is another example of the belief in democracy in action. This is the group in charge of the grass-roots movement of knocking on doors and campaigning by telephone which is impressing, and worrying, the left wing in Israel. It seems that Ehud Olmert has what to worry about, and that the election campaign is far from over.
This is not to say that everything is rosy. Most of us in the Dati Leumi camp are very pessimistic about what will happen in the next few years, and many of us, if not all, fear that we will be forced to move away from the communities that we love dearly. But we haven't given up - not by a long shot. Until there is a better system, we will work with the one we have.