Hareidi MKs
Hareidi MKsFlash 90

The hareidi parties are considering running on a joint list, sources told Arutz Sheva Sunday - before Shas chairman Aryeh Deri returns to the Knesset elections campaign and while a leadership vacuum remains. 

"There is a desire among principle Admorim [Rabbis - ed.] to form a joint list," United Torah Judaism (UTJ) sources stated. "The Belz Rebbe often spoke about it. He tried to take steps toward that end during the previous elections, but he didn't succeed, and he certainly still supports the idea now." 

"What is new is that the Gur Rebbe and others are not opposed to the idea either," he added. 

As for the Lithuanian (non-Hassidic) leadership within UTJ, the source said that a great deal of politics were at play, after Ha'am Itanu leader Eli Yishai visited the home of R' Aharon Leib Shetinman the night he declared he was forming a new party. To correct this, UTJ is eager to unite with Shas. [The reason for this could be that Yishai is perceived in the hareidi world as too accommodating to the national-religious community, which hareidi leaders have distanced themselves from due to its support for the hareidi draft - ed.] 

However, the source added that such a union is unlikely - as squabbles are expected to erupt as soon as the parties unite. 

"We have a bitter experience every election night, where we see [an internal dispute] between Agudat Yisrael and Degel HaTorah regarding who will be on the Knesset list," he explained. The hareidi parties, unlike other factions, do not hold primaries; the lists are chosen by a council of Rabbis. 

"If we include Shas, we may have the Knesset list by next year," he quipped. 

The issue of joint lists has risen to prominence in the current elections, after the threshold was raised earlier this year. A poll published in Mekor Rishon recently found that if Shas, United Torah Judaism and Eli Yishai’s Ha’am Itanu all unite into one party, they would win 20 seats.