Rabbi Meir Mazuz, the rabbinical counsel of Yachad - Ha'am Itanu chairperson Eli Yishai, in responding to a student's question on Friday revealed the party intends to demand the cancellation of the Enlistment Law that compels haredi army recruitment as a coalition condition.
The rabbi received a letter on Friday from a student, Tzuriel Biton, which was published on Walla!.
"I teach students who are at a low level of study, but they study from desire as granted them by G-d," wrote Biton. "But even if they continue to engage in Torah they won't be prodigies (according to the demand of the new law) and not Torah scholars. Should I encourage them to study in holy yeshivot (religious academies - ed.) or not?"
Rabbi Mazuz responded, writing "the aforementioned law (the Enlistment Law - ed.) will be cancelled with G-d's help and be as if it never were."
"We intend to demand that in coalition agreements," revealed the rabbi.
The position could have an impact on elections, as the haredi parties United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas have not said they will demand a revocation of the Enlistment Law as a coalition condition, although both have vowed to fight the law.
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, leader of the Lithuanian haredi stream in Jerusalem, reportedly is intending to have his followers not vote for UTJ for the first time, over what he views as UTJ's compromising stance on the law.
Rabbi Auerbach's followers compromise enough of an electoral bloc to equal one mandate, meaning that if they choose to back Yachad they could safely secure its passing the threshold that was raised by the outgoing coalition. Yachad's passing the threshold is seen as a necessary requirement for Likud to be able to form a right-wing coalition.
The rabbi's followers are to hold a mass rally on Sunday to either declare which party to vote for, or else decide to boycott the elections.
A retrospective of the law
Yachad was formed as a merger of Yishai, formerly Shas chairman, and MK Yoni Chetboun, who broke off from Jewish Home; the party calls for unity between religious Zionist and haredi Jews. Yachad has formed a joint list technical bloc with the Otzma Yehudit party, placing candidate Baruch Marzel at number four on its list.
While it strongly supports IDF service, the party opposes the way the Enlistment Law compels the service on haredim with jail time and other punishments, calling instead for engagement with the haredi community to encourage such service while protecting the status of Torah scholars studying in yeshivot instead of enlisting.
Chetboun called the law a "schism" in Israeli society, opposing his former Jewish Home party which was instrumental in passing the controversial law along with its erstwhile ally Yesh Atid. The bill has led to massive haredi protests that have continued a full year since it was passed last February.