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Former Agudat Yisrael MK Promoting Right-Religious Coalition

Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, formerly representing Agudat Yisrael in parliament, is working to draft joint "red lines" for all right-wing and religious political parties.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 11/30/2005, 11:47 AM / Last Update: 11/30/2005, 11:08 AM

In an interview with Arutz Sheva Radio on Tuesday, Rabbi Eichler said that his efforts are aimed at foiling a divide-and-conquer approach from being effective against the religious and right-wing parties. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used such an approach successfully after the last elections, according to Eichler, ultimately destroying both the Torah world and the Jewish communities of Gaza and northern Samaria. "And his hand is still outstretched for more," the former MK warned.

Rabbi Eichler said that he is working on drafting key non-negotiable positions for all religious and right-wing parties to agree upon ahead of coalition negotiations for the next government. He is seeking to prevent a situation in which, among the right-wing and religious parties, "in order to get some extra kneideleh [matzah ball], one [party] will enter [the coalition] at the expense of another."

Ideally, Eichler would like to see a joint commitment by the right-wing and religious parties that any future coalition must include all or none of them. However, barring that, he is working on a minimal agreement that the religious Zionist parties will fight legislation that could harm the interests of Hareidi Torah institutions and the Hareidi parties will fight legislation that harms the interests of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The first stage in forming his envisioned right-religious coalition, Rabbi Eichler said, is forming a single Hareidi bloc including Shas, Agudat Yisrael and Degel HaTorah. However, Eichler admitted that such a bloc is difficult to generate. Shas, he said, is concerned about losing traditionalist, but not Orthodox, voters to the secular parties should the Sephardic movement agree to join Ashkenazi Hareidim in one party.