Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

4 Sivan 5759 - May 19, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Unprecedented Activity on Behalf of UTJ Throughout the Country

by Arye Zisman

On Monday, election day for the 15h Knesset, masses of Torah Jews throughout the country were mekadesh sheim Shomayim by voting for United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and by participating in all of the varied activities on behalf of the slate. The vast mobilization, in light of the call of maranan verabonon, swept up all of the chareidi centers and all of the smaller communities.

The organization and activity far exceeded that of any previous elections. All sectors of the chareidi community mobilized full force for the battle, and in the streets, stirring scenes of old and young, who were active from the early hours of the morning until the closing of the polls, were widespread.

The activity began at the break of dawn, when, UTJ volunteers rose to daven shacharis kevosikin, so that they could open their headquarters as soon as possible. Outside the UTJ headquarters in all of the country's cities, long lines of cars queued up. By 7 a.m. cars began to bring the first voters to the polls, and to take the chairmen and members of the polls committees on behalf of UTJ to their respective destinations.

UTJ's "Yiddishkeit from Door to Door" campaign, which began last week, also reached a peak during the last few days, when thousands of bnei Torah and other volunteers spread all over the country, and brought the message of UTJ to the masses, after drawing their attention to the vital need for voting for the slate. This project was carefully and thoroughly planned by the Yachad headquarters headed by Rabbi Yechiel Turgeman, in conjunction with the Nationwide Activists Headquarters headed by Rabbi Mordechai Blau.

Busses left two central locations, one in Bnei Brak and the other in Jerusalem, to drive thousands to the country's various cities and settlements to get out the UTJ vote. Over a hundred busses were hired for this purpose.

From the early hours of the morning a fleet busses was also mobilized to transport those who were registered to vote in other locations to their polling places. This includes those who moved recently, as well as many yeshiva bochurim who maintain their voting residence at their parents' homes.

In many home offices, Tefilla Headquarters were organized. These headquarters were manned by children and by activists who had returned from missions and were waiting to be assigned to new ones.

The candidates of the slate traveled throughout the country visiting the various headquarters, where they encouraged the activists in their work. They also solved problems which arose in the polls.

The organization of the computer department was particularly impressive, especially in Yerushalayim. All neighborhood headquarters were supplied with various sorted lists, with keys to identify known UTJ supporters to ensure that they vote.

A sophisticated system was also tried out for the first time to streamline the monitoring of the voting throughout the day. Party representatives are allowed to be present at the polls to record the voting identification number of everyone who votes. Instead of using the old method of marking them down on charts, in many stations they typed them directly into small devices which transmitted the information directly to a central location from which the real-time results were then faxed back to the neighborhood. This was the first time the system was field tested, and some times it worked and some times it did not. One advantage was that the central headquarters could reinforce a particular neighborhood if it saw that voting was low.

Special activity took place in the Immigrants' Headquarters and the Women's Headquarters, which worked full force. The volunteers returned home late at night, only after the votes had been counted.

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