Support for Hareidi Party Endangered

A campaign is underway in hareidi-religious circles not to vote for the party that has traditionally won their support, United Torah Judaism.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:34

A Geocartographic Institute study, quoted in the hareidi publication Mishpacha (Family), states, "Tens of thousands of hareidi Jews will not vote for UTJ this time. Most of them will vote for Shas, and some for NU/NRP or Marzel, and a minority will not vote at all. The main reasons: the fact that the child allowances were cut so drastically, the abuse of the Torah Sage Rabbi Elyashiv and ignoring of the Council of Torah Sages, and the behavior of the party faction during the Disengagement."

One of the leading rabbis in hareidi-religious circles, the Admor [Rebbe] of Slonim, who is quoted as saying, "One must not vote for United Torah Judaism, which is the same as voting for Kadima."

Much of the wrath appears to be directed at MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, who is perceived as having disobeyed the rabbis' orders in votes concerning the Disengagement. Specifically, he was ordered to vote "no" in a critical Disengagement vote in the Finance Committee in November 2004. However, he was curiously absent from the session, explaining that he had an important Postal Authority event to attend at a Dead Sea hotel. Litzman later explained to Radio Kol Chai, "In political matters, one need not consult with the Torah sages" - a position that had not heretofore been heard in his party.

This past Thursday, UTJ MK Avraham Ravitz did not rule out joining a government led by Ehud Olmert and Kadima - despite Olmert's declaration the night before that only parties that accept his plan for further disengagements will be invited to join his government.

Posters have been placed on walls in hareidi neighborhoods stating, "Don't give your vote and be a partner to those who hurt Torah giants, Jewish children, and the Land of Israel. This time, let's vote Shas, or Tet-Bet [NU/NRP], or even Kaf [Marzel], but just not Gimmel [UTJ], until Litzman is removed and the party returns to the control of the Torah Sages."



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