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      Hareidi Politician: Protests weren't our Idea

      Rabbi Auerbach acted on his own when he gave instructions to demonstrate, says a UTJ source.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 2/6/2014, 5:40 PM

      Demonstration in Jerusalem
      Demonstration in Jerusalem
      Flash 90

      The hareidi protests against the arrest of a yeshiva student were ordered by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach who acted on his own, according to a senior source in the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party who asked to remain anonymous.

      The source said that it is still too early to give up on dialogue as a means of solving the dispute over hareidim who do not enlist to the military. Street demonstrations could easily spin out of control, he added.

      "There is no person of influence in positions of power, in the government and Knesset, who can help the hareidi public in its struggle over enlistment, whom we haven't spoken to yet,” said the source. “We are doing everything – simply everything – to minimize the damages as regards the legislation of the law regarding enlistment. We have not yet tried all avenues of dialogue. Hareidi lobbying is at peak level and we are still not despairing.”

      The protests, he said, “are unhelpful in their current form. While it is true that the right of protest exists, there is a right time and moment for everything, and one should maintain a sense of proportion. Most of the Torah sages have instructed us to search for the path of dialogue for the time being.”

      I am talking about all of the large and small hassidic dynasties,” he added, “like Gur, Belze and Wizhnitz, I am talking about the Lithuanian public under Rabbi Shteinman, and the Sephardic populace under his spiritual guidance. If the followers of Rabbi Auerbach are under instructions to protest in the city streets – let them fulfill the instruction. But the general hareidi populace has still not been told to go out to the streets. It is too early to give up on lobbying.”