Gedolei Yisroel met last week in Yerushalayim to discuss
strategies and to set guidelines for their representatives in
the current period. With spiritual darkness prevailing, the
chareidi community currently faces one of its greatest
challenges. Understandings with previous irreligious
governments are newly being called into question, unbridled
incitement continues and further encroachments are being made
on our nation's spiritual treasures.
Participating in the meeting, which was led by HaRav Y. S.
Eliashiv and held in the home of his son-in-law HaRav Ezriel
Auerbach, were HaRav A. Y. L. Shteinman, HaRav M. Y.
Lefkovitz, HaRav C. P. Scheinberg, HaRav N. Karelitz, HaRav
Z. Markowitz and HaRav S. Auerbach.
The gathering of the Torah world's leaders and guides was
itself a noteworthy occasion. The mutual love and reverence
among these living links in the golden chain of Torah
transmission was palpable in the atmosphere. It was evident
that they shared a common purpose in banding together as a
buttress against the storms that currently rage and a support
for the broad ranks of Torah Jewry, who seek their guidance
in these troubled times.
In the course of the meeting it was decided that Degel
Hatorah's first three representatives on the United Torah
Judaism party's list for the impending Knesset elections will
be: Rabbi A. Ravitz, Rabbi M. Gafni and Rabbi U. Maklev.
The candidates were directed to maintain ongoing contact with
the members of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah and their
representatives. The fact that current issues are even
weightier and more fateful than those that were aired in the
past, makes it vital that the contact with the community's
Torah leaders be smoother and closer knit than hitherto.
The candidates were called into the meeting and handed
letters of appointment by the participants. They expressed
their thanks for the trust that was being placed in them and
undertook to act in accordance with the guidelines and
decisions of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah.
At the end of the meeting, the gedolei Yisroel
expressed their hopes and prayers for the success of the
forthcoming difficult campaigns that chareidi Jewry must
News of the meeting was greeted with excitement and reverence
by the broad community of bnei Torah, in the hope that
it will rally the entire Torah community and the masses of
Torah faithful Jewry, in adherence to the directives of the
gedolim and in sanctification of Heaven's Name.
Two days later, last Thursday, the United Torah Judaism party
comprising Agudas Yisroel and Degel Hatorah, presented its
list of candidates to the Central Elections Committee and
once again, requested the letter "gimmel" as the
symbol on its voting slips.
This step officially opens UTJ's election campaign, which it
is hoped will unite all segments of the chareidi community
and lead to the party increasing its representation in the
Among the first ten names on the party's list, five are
representatives of Degel Hatorah and five of Agudas Yisroel.
Heading the UTJ list is the chairman of the Knesset Finance
Committee, Rabbi Y. Litzman, of Agudas Yisroel. Second is
Rabbi A. Ravitz, Deputy Minister of Education, of Degel
Hatorah. Third place is occupied by Deputy Housing Minister
Rabbi M. Porush, of Agudas Yisroel. In fourth place is the
chairman of the Knesset's Interior Committee, Rabbi M. Gafni,
of Degel Hatorah. In fifth place is Rabbi Y. Eichler,
representative of Belz chassidus. The sixth place is
occupied by Deputy Chairman of the Knesset, Rabbi S. Halpert,
of Agudas Yisroel. In seventh place is Deputy Mayor of
Yerushalayim, Rabbi U. Maklev, of Degel Hatorah. Occupying
the eighth place is Rabbi Y. Cohen, the Director of Yeshivas
Ger in Bnei Brak, an Agudas Yisroel representative. In the
ninth place is Rabbi Z. Baumel, Director of the Toda'a
organization, a Degel Hatorah representative. The tenth man
is Rabbi Yosef Abu, Deputy Head of the Beit Shean
Municipality, of Degel Hatorah.
At a joint meeting of all the representatives, it was
resolved that in the event of UTJ's receiving five Knesset
seats, a rotation arrangement would be implemented whereby
Rabbi Eichler would step down after two years, giving his
place to someone else.
The list's leaders stressed that the group, which has
received the blessings of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, is an
excellent one, combining older hands, with younger and new
faces. Each candidate is a genuinely devoted representative
of the community, who has the blessings of the gedolim
and the broad support of the community. It is thus hoped
that the list will rally the entire chareidi community and
result in sanctification of Heaven's Name.