Will the haredi UTJ save the right-wing camp from losing Otzma Yehudit's votes?

Haredi party aims to pull votes from far-right party which wasted two right-wing seats in last election.

Ben Shaul ,

Meir Porush
Meir Porush
Hillel Meir/ TPS

Sources in the Ashkenazic-haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party have said that the party's campaign targeting the Religious Zionist sector is attempting to draw votes from the far-right Otzma Yehudit party.

Otzma Yehudit has been polling at just over 2%, far below the 3.25% required to enter the Knesset.

"There are many haredim and haredi-nationalists who vote for Otzma Yehudit Chairman [Itamar] Ben Gvir, despite the fact that he has no chance of passing the electoral threshold," the sources said. "We saw this in several of the past elections, and that's what's going to happen this time as well - if the public doesn't wake up."

According to them, when it comes to Judaism, UTJ provides the same or better as Otzma Yehudit.

"In the diplomatic arena as well, UTJ has clarified several times that it opposes dividing the Land of Israel, and everything that comes with it. And that is how it votes in the Knesset as well."

On Tuesday, Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ) attended a meeting in Beitar Illit together with local Agudat Yisrael businessmen. During the meeting, Porush spoke about the results of September's elections, emphasizing the small changes which caused the party to receive significantly more support locally.

"In the last elections, UTJ received 900 more votes than it had received in the elections prior to those. According to our calculations, this growth represents more than the natural growth rate of those who acquire eligibility to vote," he noted.

The meeting also focused on expanding the party's reach, both in hasidic communities and among those who, despite being part of the haredi community, do not vote for haredi parties.

"Ben Gvir's Otzma Yehudit party received 669 votes from Beitar Illit residents in the previous elections," Porush said. "These aren't people who will vote Blue and White, and they're also not going to vote for other parties. These are votes who need to come home, to UTJ. Beitar Illit, which surprised us in a positive way in the previous two elections, can surprise us in these elections as well."