UTJ leaders
UTJ leadersEsty Dazyubov, TPS

The Ashkenazic-haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party is suffering from internal disagreements and battles over how the tasks they were given in the government will be divided.

At the end of the process, two UTJ MKs - MKS Meir Porush and Yaakov Litzman - will step down from their roles as MKs and allow two more UTJ members - Yitzhak Pindrus and Eliyahu Hasid - to take their seats in the Knesset.

Under the Norwegian Law, ministers can choose to step down from their roles as MKs while retaining their positions in office, allowing other MKs from their party list to take their places in the Knesset.

However, senior officials in UTJ's Agudat Yisrael faction told Kikar Hashabbat that they have threatened not to keep the agreement to utilize the Norwegian Law, if the Degel Hatorah faction in UTJ attempts to take all the senior positions for itself.

Currently, there are two open positions: Deputy Knesset Speaker, for the entire term, and membership in the committee for appointing judges.

Degel Hatorah claims that under the agreement, Pindrus should become Deputy Knesset Speaker when he takes his place as MK via the Norwegian Law. According to them, the agreement between Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael "gives Degel Hatorah the right to choose the first position. After MK Yaakov Tesler chose the Committee for Public Petitions, the next position belongs to Degel Hatorah."

Agudat Yisrael, meanwhile, claims that "this is a piggish demand; it cannot be that Degel Hatorah will take control of all of the party's property. The agreement requires positions to be divided equally. Degel Hatorah holds the prestigious Constitution Committee, and now it also wants to take the position of Deputy Knesset Speaker? That's one demand too many."

"If Degel Hatorah remains steadfast in its obstinacy, we will rethink stepping down for Yitzhak Pindrus."

Degel Hatorah responded: "An agreement is an agreement! If Agudat Yisrael does not step down for Pindrus, Deputy Transportation Minister Uri Maklev will do it happily."

According to Kikar Hashabbat, Porush sent a letter to Litzman, demanding that he stand fast on the agreements between Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael, so that Agudat Yisrael will receive positions of equal importance to Degel's.

According to Porush, Agudat Yisrael needs to have the Committee for Public Petitions as well as the position of Deputy Knesset Speaker, since the two roles together are equal in importance to the Constitution Committee held by Degel Hatorah.