Yahad party leader and former minister Eli Yishai will withdraw his candidacy and support the Lithuanian haredi United Torah Judaism party (UTJ) in the upcoming elections.
The announcement follows two months of negotiations between the UTJ leadership and the head of the Yeshivat Kisse Rahamim yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Mazuz.
"We have closed an agreement with Eli Yishai. He will withdraw and support UTJ," said MK Moshe Gafni, chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee.
In return, Eli Yishai is expected to join the public sector to work for the benefit of the haredi community. After the elections he will receive an appointment that will deal with solutions to the housing shortage in the haredi community.
Yishai said that he made the decision so as not to waste any haredi or right-wing votes in the event that Yahad failed to clear the electoral threshold.
"After weeks of intensive work to strengthen the Yahad movement, we reached the goal of over 100,000 supporters who registered and expressed their support in the way of the Rosh Yeshiva and Gaon Yisroel Rabbi Meir Mazuz Shlita, and through the Yahad movement. As we promised, the Yahad movement will not endanger the right and the Jewish character, certainly not in this critical election campaign," Yishai declared.
"About ten days ago, the contacts started for us to support UTJ, mediated by Deputy Minister Rabbi Meir Porush. After we considered the data and examined the possibilities before us, we brought to the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Mazuz with all of those possibilities. As I did throughout my years in politics with integrity and faith, when I asked the rabbi I made sure that my personal benefit would not be a factor in the considerations," he added.
"The rabbi examined the matter and the commitments to the Yahad movement, and made a decision out of concern for the Torah world, out of responsibility for the success of the right-wing bloc and the values of the Yahad movement, and decided to support UTJ.
He noted that "out of all the options we presented to the rabbi, the rabbi determined that this option is the best to preserve what we believe in."
"We are embarking on this path, out of recognition and understanding that this is the safest and best way for the Torah of Israel, the people of Israel, and for the sake of the integrity of the Land of Israel. Yahad represents all of Israel are Sephardim and Ashkenazim, secular and observant, haredim and anyone to whom the Jewish character of the state is important," Yishai said.
The United Right issued a statement of support for Yishai's decision. "We welcome the responsible step taken by Eli Yishai, who is concerned about preventing the loss of votes by the right. We call on the Yahad voters to return home. Join us and together we will preserve the people of Israel, the land of Israel and the Torah of Israel."