Leaders of the haredi parties Shas and UTJ
Leaders of the haredi parties Shas and UTJ Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Parties running in Israel's November elections must submit their final list of candidates by Thursday at midnight - and as of Saturday, the Ashkenazic-haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party still has not yet reached an agreement which would allow a joint run.

UTJ is comprised of the Lithuanian-haredi Degel Hatorah faction and the hasidic Agudat Yisrael faction. The two factions have run as a single list for several years, but are now facing a split, mostly due to disagreements regarding the Belz hasidic schools.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, in recent days sources in Agudat Yisrael have begun negotiations with the Sephardic-haredi Shas party, in order to see if it is possible to add the Belz schools to Shas' "Bnei Yosef" chain.

Initially, Shas opposed the proposition, but on Friday progress began to be made and according to those involved in the negotiations, the sides hired lawyers Uri Kedar and Avi Blum to see if it is possible to overcome the legal difficulties involved in the merger.

A senior source in Belz told Kikar Hashabbat, "In the current situation, it is difficult to reach an agreement with Degel Hatorah, it's almost impossible. We are barreling towards an independent run by the haredi factions. The only solution that looks realistic right now is joining Bnei Yosef. It's not clear how practical this is from a technical standpoint, but we are making the effort."