Why I am Endorsing and Voting Yachad on 17 March, 2015

Dear Friends;

Most of you who know me here in Eretz Yisrael know me to be outspoken on many issues affecting Am Yisrael, Torah, our Divine right and legacy to, and sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael.

In all of my years of following modern history, events, eras in Israel, I have found no other political entity, with the possible exceptions of Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit and our hopes when Menachem Begin led Likud to the prime ministership in 1977, so united and so expressive of a solid synthesis between Torah, Eretz Yisrael and national unity as I have seen in the coalescing of Eli Yishai and his Yachad faction with Baruch Marzel and Otzma Yehudit.

I will cite for you Eli Yishai’s comments on Yachad’s facebook page which encapsulate the spirit of which I speak:

“Yachad is staying together, haredim and national religious,” Yishai said. “We have an obligation to continue the great thing that we have created here, a covenant of those who observe the commandments for the Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel. Thank God, that which unites us is greater than any argument. Together, in the name of God, we will succeed.”

For further background on this spirit, please click on this link: Yishai’s Party Pledges Unity in Jerusalem

Below is the Yachad list.

1. Eli Yishai

2. Yoni Chetboun

3. Michael Ayash

4. Baruch Marzel

5. Sason Treblesi

6. Rav Amital Bar-Eli

7. Dudi Shwamenfeld

8. Rabbi Kobi Yakir

With your consideration and, hopefully, your vote on election day, I foresee as reasonable, the expectation of Yachad gaining as many as seven mandatim. The Hebrew letters on ballots for Yachad – Ha’am Itanu are: קץ

Thank you all of your thoughtful consideration. Please see below for brief biographies on six of the seven candidates on Yachad’s list.

Shevua Tov, Chodesh Tov and may this Chodesh Adar bring Miracles and Simcha for Kol Am Yisrael,

Moshe Burt
Skype: mark.burt3

Brief Biographies: (Source: Wikipedia and/or http://www.elieyshay.com/, and other sources as noted.)

Eli Yishai:

52 yo. Chairman of Yachad – Ha’am Itanu. Rabbi Yishai was born in Jerusalem in 1962, to Zion (1933-2004) and Yvette-Fortuna (1934-2009) who had immigrated to Israel from Tunis, Tunisia. He studied at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Yeshivat HaNegev in Netivot. In 1980 Yishai enlisted in the IDF and served until 1983. In 1984, he entered political life. Yishai is married and has five children.

As a young man he was intimately aware of the difficulties of the needy and this awareness was the core of his public activity Knesset and the government.. Eli studied at “Horeb” and the Porat Yosef “Jerusalem and the Negev Yeshivat Netivot, and after graduating he served three years in the IDF. The great turning point of his life was the introduction Reb Yosef blessed memory who steered him to action for the public.

Yishai started his political life as a member of the Jerusalem City Council from 1987 to 1988. In 1988 Yishai served as an aide to Aryeh Deri who was then Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs. Yishai was first elected to the Knesset in the 1996 elections as a member of Shas, and was made Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.

He retained his seat in the 1999 elections, and was again appointed Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in Ehud Barak’s government. After Ariel Sharon beat Barak in the 2001 Prime Ministerial election, Yishai was appointed as Interior Minister and was made a Deputy Prime Minister in Sharon’s national unity government. Yishai took over as party leader when Aryeh Deri was convicted of fraud.

As leader of Shas for thirteen years, Yishai was seen as a political hawk and steered the party to the right of where it had been under Deri. Under Yishai’s leadership, Shas grew from 4 seats to 17 seats. In 2007, Yishai helped facilitate insured pension funds for about one million people from weak sectors of society. Eli Yishai acted against any withdrawal from parts of the Land of Israel and for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. He was a partner in the struggle against the disengagement and evacuation of Gush Katif, and head of the war against “infiltrators” who threatened the Jewish character of the State of Israel.

In May 2013, after some months of internal rift following Deri’s political comeback, Yishai was ousted and Deri was once again renamed as the leader of the Shas party. In December 2014, Yishai announced that he would be leaving Shas to establish a new party [Yachad], which would run in the 2015 elections.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, z’l stated about Eli Yishai that he is “faithful in all of my house.” Eli Yishai’s main principles of life are loyalty to, and knowledge of Torah, as well as upholding the ruling of Maran Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, to establish the Party “Yachad – Together,” in order to prevent the risk of Oslo, and to connect bonds of love between the religious, the ultra-nationalists, and all your people Israel.

Yoni Chetboun:

35 yo. Chetboun was born in Nahariya to Sefardi Jewish parents and grew up in Netanya. He attended a Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school, before becoming a student at Yeshivat Otniel. In 1998 he began his national service, and joined the 51st Battalion of the Golani Brigade. He was selected to join the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit. He fought in the Second Lebanon War, seeing action at the Battle of Bint Jbeil, and was awarded the Chief of Staff citation. He continued to serve in the reserves after active duty with the rank of Major, and left the IDF in 2008.

Chetboun studied at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, where he gained a bachelor’s degree in governance and strategy. In 2011, he founded the “Kanaf” consulting firm. He is married with 7 children.

He joined the Jewish Home party, supported Naftali Bennett in its 2012 leadership election, served in the nineteenth knesset as a Deputy Speaker and was a member of both the Foreign Affairs and Defense and Education Committees. As son of immigrants from France, he founded and headed the lobby for French immigrants in Israel which acted to remove barriers to immigration and absorption to immigrants from

Chetboun defied direct orders by Naftali Bennett and voted against the bill that criminalized haredim learning torah full time instead of enlisting in the army. On 14 December 2014, he quit the Jewish Home party because of ideological differences with the party, and immediately joined Eli Yishai’s Yachad party. He stressed his belief in the fact that the new party could bring “Achdut” (Unity) between all the religious sectors in Israel.

Michael Ayash (Source: The Yeshiva World)

The 50-year-old Ayash was born in Tzfas and is a graduate of Yeshivas Ohr HaChaim in Yerushalayim. Over his 30 year career, he has been responsible for running a number of kindergartens, the Pirchei Kehuna Girl’s School, a yeshiva ketana, a secondary school and a kollel preparing avreichim for rabbonus and dayanus. He also lectures on religious issues as a consultant for organizations dedicated to good governance and governmental oversight. Ayash is the second chareidi on the list along with Yishai. Michael Ayash… is the director of the Yated HaTeshuvah mosdos. Rabbi Refael Cohen stands at the helm of the mosdos.

Baruch Marzel:

Marzel, 55 yo, was born in Boston and emigrated to Israel with his family as a baby. After finishing his studies in the Yamit hesder yeshiva, at age 20, he joined the IDF. In the 1982 Lebanon War he fought in the Armored Corps and participated in the capture of the Beirut-Damascus road. Upon finishing his army service, the army sent him to the United States, where he was involved in public relations and outreach for Israel.

Marzel also learned for several years in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has long been an advocate for youth aliyah from the United States as well being active in chessed organizations in Hevron and Kiryat Arba and helping many needy families.

Marzel, an American-born Orthodox Jew, lives in the Jewish community of Hebron in Tel Rumeida with his wife and nine children. He was the leader of the… Jewish National Front party. He is now a member of Otzma Yehudit

In 2009, after fellow party member Michael Ben-Ari won a seat in Knesset on the National Union (Israel) list, Marzel agreed to serve as Ben-Ari’s parliamentary aide. In 2013 Marzel ran for the Knesset again, this time on the third slot of the newly founded Otzma LeYisrael party, which splintered from National Union. However, the party failed to cross the electoral threshold. Prior to the election, other parties such as the Jewish Home party had rejected including or cooperating with Marzel, considering him to be too outspoken and nationalistic.

For further insight into Baruch Marzel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/an-open-letter-to-baruch-marzel/

Sason Treblesi:

Age 42, married with seven children who lives in Kfar Saba, heads the Religious Council Kfar Saba and established a number of religious institutions. Rabbi Trabelsi is the eleventh of fifteen brothers Zionist parents who immigrated from Tunisia. He grew up in southern farming family and learned under Maran Rabbi Meir Mazuz. In his last position, he served as spokesman for the Maran Rosh Yeshiva. He has rabbinical ordination and a law degree.

Rav Amital Bar-Eli: (Source: INN and contributors to Yachad FB page)

Amital Bar-Eli, 39 yo, is married with eight children and lives in Be’er Sheva. Rav Bar-Eli was born in Jerusalem and is the grandson of Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria who was a Talmud of Rav AY Kook. He is founder, CEO and director of the Hotam Forum, as well as being a founder of the Magen Dan neighborhood of Elkan. Hotam Forum of Torah-based research foundations seeks to strengthen Jewish identity of Israel and to strengthen the Jewish family in the face of … liberal attack upon it. It includes articles enumerating some liberal items of legislation that have been advanced in the Knesset in recent years, including bills regarding surrogate motherhood, recognition of same-sex couples, making family courts the default venue for hearing divorce cases, and even a bill proposed by Meretz to remove any mention of a person’s sex in ID cards, which the brochure says is part of an ideology of tearing down the traditional family.

Rav Bar-Eli is an organizational consultant on education and training, with years of experience in education and research, mainly on religion and state. He holds a BA in elementary education and a master’s degree in organizational consulting and business administration from Ben Gurion University. He served as a combat officer and later chaplain.

Contributors to the Yachad FB page have indicated that R’ Bar-Eli made news in an incident when he was filmed encouraging soldiers not to go in to evacuate Gush Katif. He served as a rav tzva’i. He was in army jail for 4 months because of that. (The contributors indicate that he may be Otzma, but they are not sure.)

Dudi Shwamenfeld: (Source: The Yeshiva World)

52 yo, married with five children living in Migdal Haemek. Dudi Shwamenfeld is a journalist and Kol Berama Radio host. He has years of experience on Haredi radio stations. Shwamenfeld is a social fighter who has used his position as a communicator in favor of social struggles, such as for a change in attitude to the Haredi youth who drop out and toward the ultra-Orthodox soldiers. He has served in the IDF Military Rabbinate. He fights against persecution and is uncompromising in struggling against ethnic discrimination in Orthodox educational institutions. When asked why he would leave his job to join a party that might not pass the minimum threshold in the elections, Dudi said “voters are wise and they know which party to vote for.” He added “for me, it is a big honor to join this party”. Shwamenfeld spoke of the mission, the wonderful reality that the party combines dati leumi and chareidi candidates.

Rabbi Kobi Yakir

43 yo, Rabbi Yakir is a Torah scholar, married with seven children and lives in Yishuv Psagot. Rabbi Yakir has a broad religious education having learned at Or Etzion Yeshiva, which includes judges and rabbinical courts, and at the Rudman Kollel for Dayanut in Rechovot. Rabbi Yakir is a Rav Mechanech in Yishivat hesder. He deals with religious instruction, having completed five-year study of Jewish strategy. He has published many articles in various magazines regarding issues of religion and state.