Yossi Deutsch
Yossi DeutschSpokesman

In light of the apparent decision by Degel Hatorah to compete in Jerusalem and other cities independently, Agudat Yisrael turned to Degel Hatorah this morning through the Hamodia and Hamevaser newspapers, seeking to avert division and calling for unity.

"With the power of unity, we can achieve greater achievements and best fulfill our mission," explained members of the Eighth Committee of Agudat Yisrael that met yesterday in Jerusalem.

They also warned a separate run would divide the haredi community. "A split between Agudat Yisrael and Degel Hatorah in certain cities is likely to affect other cities as well, which will harm the haredi public's unity at this time among all representatives of the haredi public, out of responsibility and commitment to sanctify the name of Heaven and not unnecessary disputes, Heaven forbid.

"The committee expressed deep hope that unity line within the ranks of Agudat Yisrael will expand beyond its borders, and that by the date for submitting candidate lists there will be full agreement with Degel Hatorah, which will allow the elections to take place in joint lists."

In their statements, they clarified there is a principled intention to follow an egalitarian plan. "In the cities where there's representation of the two factions, there have been no real changes in the composition of the haredi population such as to justify changes in the power relations between the lists or alternatively running on separate lists. Nevertheless, we proposed to Degel to compare the number of representatives in the Jerusalem city council, so there will be full equality between the two parties. So far, we've only received answers talking about a split."

The committee later called to support Yossi Deitch as Jerusalem Mayor.