Who will Messianic Jews vote for in the Israeli elections?
Kehila News, Kehila News Staff, September 17, 2019
Messianic Jews and Christians are small religious minorities in Israel, and no party is particularly interested in them as voters. Especially not if that could cost them the vote of the greatly larger number of Orthodox Jews.
This situation puts Messianic Jews in Israel in a similar dilemma as many other religious minorities in the world, like Jews in the US or Muslims in Europe: On the one hand they usually agree to conservative values of the political right, but the political left proclaims it will safeguard their rights against the majority religion that rules the conservative parties.
Messianic congregations in Israel usually stay away from politics as pastors will not tell their congregational members who to vote for. Individual believers make their own decisions regarding their party of choice. Some vote for a conservative party, such as Yamina, the far-right Orthodox party led by Ayelet Shaked, or for Likud, the party led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is that these parties tend to give more power to those who are usually antagonistic towards believers. For example, when believers have trouble getting a visa to Israel, making aliyah (immigration to Israel), or similar issues, recently it has been due in part to Ultra-Orthodox politicians (like the current Minister of the Interior Ariye Deri) with key influence in government, given by parties like these.
On the other hand, these are the parties that will oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, and that are in favor of Israel’s border to the Jordan river. They also share similar family values and they promote a free, capitalistic economy with lower taxes and less government intervention. These key issues usually provide enough incentive to receive many votes from Messianic Jews.
More left-wing parties which espouse the protection of religious minorities, such as the Democratic Union or Labor, do not share the conservative views of most Messianic Jews and Christians. They strongly support the creation of a Palestinian state, which could entail relinquishing control over parts of Jerusalem. In addition, they promote a secular leftist and sometimes socialist worldview, not largely held by Messianic Jews in Israel.
There are two small parties with Messianic Jews as members. One is the Jewish-Christian party The Bible Bloc, and the other is the Arab Christian party The Christian Liberal Movement, who have included a Russian-Israeli who promotes the party in Hebrew. Many consider their vote would be wasted since neither of them stand any chance of passing the necessary electoral threshold, and thus very few Messianic Jews and Christians will vote for them.