EichlerFlash 90

Peace among the haredim comes with its costs. The Belz Hasidism say the agreement signed last week between Agudat Yisrael and Degel Hatorah could displace its representative from the next Knesset.

The claim is based in the way the Agudat Yisrael party has prepared its Knesset list for years. The first four places are allocated in the following order to faction representatives: Gur, Shlomei Emunim (representing many hasidic denominations headed by Meir Porush), Vizhnitz, and Belz.

To this day, the relationship between Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael as a joint list was 60-40 in favor of Agudat Yisrael, so that even if the joint list received six mandates, the place of Belz's Agudat Yisrael representative Yisrael Eichler was guaranteed, sometimes in rotation and sometimes for a full term.

However, after the new agreement the relationship between Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael became equal and stands at 50-50. This means that even if Agudat Yisrael wins seven seats, if the Norwegian Law is not enacted as permanent policy Eichler will be forced to leave the Knesset.

Belz Hasidism are now asking the Agudat Yisrael list system be updated and transfer them to third place, claiming to be numerically larger than the Vizhnitz Hasidim. They also made it clear they were not willing to pay alone the cost of peace with Degel Hatorah.

This morning's hasidic demand was expressed in the Hasidic journal of thought HaMachane haHaredi: "Any peacemaking involves concessions, but concessions must be mutual. Our illustrious community is not required to prove its capabilities in making concessions for peace. When only some of the parties give in, there's a tremendous amount of concession, but giving in is part of the peace process. When everyone contributes his component, the blessing of peace makes everyone happy and satisfied with it.

"Among partners who live in peace and brotherhood with each other, there are sometimes differences of opinion about the management of the partnership, the manner in which it should be acted out, what should be invested more and what less, but these differences are not related to the part of every partner, each of whom understands that the other side has his share," the article says.