Rabbi Dov Lipman, the Beit Shemesh activist who has led the fight there against haredi extremism there, is also the Director of the English Speakers Division of the Am Shalem social movement (soon to be a full fledged political party) led by moderate Sefardi haredi maverick Rabbi Haim Amsalem.
…“Rabbis will say we’re treif [not kosher] and horrible people,” Lipman said of the movement, an NGO that has yet to officially register as a political party. “But we know there are haredim on Facebook. Some are afraid to press ‘like’ on our page, but we are still able to get information to them.”
The party’s internal polls have shown that 40 percent of its support comes from people who identify as secular, 40% from religious Zionists and 20% from haredim.
Lipman attributes the party’s support from secular Israelis to a search for something new in politics, with a focus on internal issues.
In fact, Lipman added, there are many similarities between Am Shalem’s goals and those of Yair Lapid, such as requiring all haredi schools to teach the Education Ministry’s core curriculum and having most haredim serve in the IDF.
He did, however, deny rumors that the former Channel 2 news anchor has asked Amsalem to run for the Knesset with his party, though he opined that it would be a good idea.
Meanwhile, several other parties have asked Am Shalem to run with them.
Amsalem is seriously considering these offers, one of which is from Habayit Hayehudi, as long as he can maintain Am Shalem as a separate party within a faction.
Lipman said Am Shalem is looking to do what it can do “within reason” to get into the Knesset. This way, Amsalem can meet his ultimate goal of being religious services minister, so he can reform rabbinate services such as marriage, divorce, conversions and burial, so they can be friendlier to the average Israeli, while staying in the confines of Halacha.
According to the party’s polls, Am Shalem is likely to get two to three seats in the next Knesset, while Shas will probably drop two seats.…
Am Shalem continues to recruit support outside the Sephardic-haredi box, with over 43,007 “likes” on its Hebrew-language Facebook page, far more than the party it broke off from, which has only 565 fans, its leader Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who has 5,666, or even Yosef, who has 10,758 fans on two unofficial Facebook profiles.
Lipman was quick to clarify that 90% of Am Shalem’s Facebook fans live in Israel, since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s profile was shown to be “liked” mostly by people abroad after his office bragged that he was the most popular Israeli politician in Israel.…