Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5766 - February 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











United Torah Jewry and Shabbos — Agudas Yisroel- Degel HaTorah Submits Joint Knesset List

By B. Kahn, Y. Ariel and A. Zissman

Degel HaTorah and Agudas Yisroel again submitted a joint Knesset list to the Central Election Committee at the last minute, and once again chose to use the letter "Gimmel" on ballot slips. The list for the joint party, known as United Torah Jewry and Shabbos-Agudas Yisroel Degel HaTorah, was submitted by Rabbi Avrohom Weber and Rabbi Moshe Shiffman of Degel HaTorah and Rabbi Shlomo Vidslavsky and Rabbi Yosef Deutsch of Agudas Yisroel.

This marked the official launch of the campaign to garner the support of all chareidim ledvar Hashem as well as other supporters. Recent surveys predict the list will draw 6- 7 mandates, compared to five mandates in the previous elections.

At the top of the list is Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (Agudas Yisroel) followed by Welfare Deputy Minister Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz (Degel HaTorah). The third spot goes to MK Rabbi Meir Porush (Agudas Yisroel), fourth to Degel HaTorah Secretary MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, fifth to Deputy Transportation Minister MK Rabbi Shmuel Halpert (Agudas Yisroel), sixth to Rabbi Yaakov Cohen (Agudas Yisroel) and seventh to Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Rabbi Uri Maklev (Degel HaTorah).

UTJ heads note the list, which received the blessings of maranan verabonon gedolei Yisroel shlita combines the leading, most dedicated names in chareidi public service who have won the confidence of gedolei Torah accepted by all segments of the chareidi tzibbur, thereby insuring the unification of all of chareidi Jewry to sanctify the Name of Heaven borabbim.

During the final days before the list was submitted marathon meetings were held between representatives of the two parties after Maran HaRav Eliashiv and HaRav Shteinman instructed Degel HaTorah representatives to reach an agreement with Agudas Yisroel to avoid chilul Hashem.

The day before the joint list was submitted, Rabbi Ravitz, Rabbi Gafni, Rabbi Maklev and Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah Secretary Rabbi Avrohom Rubinstein paid a visit to Maran HaRav Eliashiv to present him with the details of the preliminary agreement reached between Degel HaTorah and Agudas Yisroel and to ask him for further instructions. Maran told them to reach agreements regarding the formation of the joint list in order to avoid machlokes and chilul Hashem, and offered his blessings for success.

The negotiations were held up because Agudas Yisroel is comprised of four different factions and when it appeared a compromise was unattainable the representatives received instructions from gedolei Yisroel to make every effort to avoid machlokes and divisiveness. At this point a rotation agreement was arranged for the sixth spot, in the event UTJ receives a sixth mandate as the majority of surveys published forecast.

"With their vision, sense of responsibility and leadership," said Rabbi Gafni, "gedolei Yisroel instructed us on how to direct the negotiations and how to reach the agreements eventually achieved. Now it is up to each of us to work toward the success of the list."

The two parties also agreed to an equal split of active posts in the government and Knesset.

If UTJ joins a coalition the party will demand two central posts to avoid what took place in the past. Furthermore, to avoid the disputes that split UTJ last year, it was agreed in any case of differences of opinion a decision would not be reached based on a majority of party members. Instead both Degel HaTorah and Agudas Yisroel representatives would present the various positions to gedolei Yisroel for a final decision.


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