Otzma Yehudit wanted to quit the race - their rabbi told them not to

Otzma Yehudit received less than 20,000 votes - and seriously considered quitting the race. Rabbi Dov Lior told them not to.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Otzma Yehudit leaders
Otzma Yehudit leaders
Mendy Hechtman /Flash90

Otzma Yehudit candidate Yitzhak Wasserlauf on Friday morning said his party had decided to bow out of the race, but Rabbi Dov Lior demanded they run until the end, no matter what the price.

The party received 19,354 votes, which were divided evenly among the parties which passed the threshold. If Otzma Yehudit voters had split their support evenly between Likud and Yamina, the right-wing bloc would have 59 Knesset seats instead of 58, and Blue and White would have received 32 seats instead of 33.

"Two days before the elections, on Saturday night, we received an interesting offer from the Likud in exchange for bowing out of the race. May Golan would leave the party and become an independent party representing Otzma Yehudit," Wasserlauf said.

The negotiations were held in a high-end tower in Tel Aviv. "We mostly examined the legal aspects. It all looked good. Until we received a telephone from Balfour. The Prime Minister had decided that it was more worthwhile to take aim at our heads, and ordered his people to drop the subject."

The next day a senior figure from the Ashkenazic-haredi UTJ party called Wasserlauf. "He heard what the Likud offered and tried to offer something similar, with [Yitzhak] Pindrus. I told him that that's an interesting option. The conversation didn't last too long, and he asked to look into it. After about an hour he got back to me and said Pindrus is anyways in, and the more haredi Religious Zionists are voting for them and will put him in, so he doesn't see where UTJ gains from the deal."

Pindrus was number eight on the UTJ list. As of now, the UTJ seems to have received just seven Knesset seats, leaving Pindrus out of the Knesset.

At this point, Otzma Yehudit turned to the Likud, and asked that the Prime Minister agree to one of their demands. "The Prime Minister refused, and would not budge. I guess he had decided to aim for our heads," Wasserlauf said.

On Sunday, the party decided to bow out of the race, since it had no chance of passing the electoral threshold, but the party's rabbi, Rabbi Dov Lior, demanded they arrive at the headquarters in Jerusalem.

"The management gathered in a closed room and there we explained our opinion to the rabbi. The rabbi, a Jew close to 90, is one of the leaders of the generation. He explained to us why we cannot bow out, despite everything, and ruled: We're running to the end. He was very determined."

"If we were like Yamina, then we would see that ruling as simply a suggestion. But for us, a word is a word, and the rabbi's opinion is the Torah's opinion. There's no breaks and there are no games. The rabbi's instruction was quickly passed to the field staff, who had frozen their activities in the interim. Within an hour, dozens of vehicles loaded with equipment began making their way to distribution points across the country. We're continuing guys, we're running to the end."

"Twenty thousand people voted for us, who would not have voted for anyone else. And tens of thousands more would have voted for us if it weren't for the electoral threshold. I'm at peace with myself. Mostly because I accepted the ruling of Rabbi Lior, without questions and without conditions."




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