Yitzhak Goldknopf (L) of Agudat Yisrael and Moshe Gafni (R) of Degel Hatorah
Yitzhak Goldknopf (L) of Agudat Yisrael and Moshe Gafni (R) of Degel Hatorah Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Significant progress has been made in the negotiations between Degel Hatorah and Agudat YIsrael regarding a joint run for Knesset, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

The two factions have run for years as a single party, United Torah Judaism (UTJ), but recent disagreements caused a rift that had the parties headed towards two separate runs - something which was not expected to allow either of them to pass the electoral threshold.

The breakthrough in negotiations follows the agreement of Degel Hatorah - for the first time since negotiations began - to allow some of the Belz hasidic schools to join the independent haredi school system.

Under the potential agreement, if the Likud-led bloc wins 61 Knesset seats, the haredi parties will set as a condition for joining the coalition an improvement in the schools' work conditions, as was agreed previously. If the bloc does not form a government, Degel Hatorah has agreed for the first time to allow some of the Belz schools to join the independent system.

Belz businessmen will bring the details of the developing plan for the approval of their rebbe (hasidic leader), who will make the final decision on the matter.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, those schools which do not become part of the independent haredi system will be added to the Shas-run Bnei Yosef chain.

If the agreement is approved, the United Torah Judaism list will run as usual, with both parties merged into a single list.

Earlier on Monday, former Israeli Prime Minister MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) said, "I am sure that our friends in the haredi parties will find a way to unite, since the union gives us a lot of strength. I leave the decisions to the heads of the parties, and to the rabbis."