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Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Ovadia in Emergency Confab

Shas and UTJ coordinating their moves over attempt to increase hareidi enlistment to IDF.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/31/2013, 10:40 PM

R. Ovadia, Gerrer Rebbe, MK Litzman
R. Ovadia, Gerrer Rebbe, MK Litzman
Yanki Deri

The Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, 74, visited Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Thursday, to discuss what hareidi circles are calling the "enlistment decree" – a demand by the Yesh Atid party that the next government coalition adopt that party's plan for enlisting hareidi men to the military.

The unusual summit meeting was also attended by the Chairman of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) Knesset faction, Deputy Health Minister MK Yaakov Litzman, who represents the Gur (Gerrer) dynasty in UTJ, and Shas co-chairman Aryeh Deri.

The political leaders, Deri and Litzman, attended in order to coordinate the factions' positions in the coalition negotiations, and also held a long meeting between the two of them. After it, they announced that Shas and UTJ will present a uniform position to the prime minister regarding the "equal burden" issue – an Israeli expression alluding to IDF and national service.

Sources close to Yishai said that UTJ and Shas have similar views on the subject. "Concerning yeshiva students who sit and study Torah day and night, Shas and UTJ see things eye to eye, regarding the need to preserve their status as yeshiva students," they said. Shas "will not lend a hand to uprooting yeshiva students from their study bench."

UTJ said, "The State of Israel cannot exist without Torah students and their status must not be diminished."