Chareidi Parties In Uncertain Status, As Yaakov Asher Takes Degel #3 Spot


yaakov-asher-2Things are looking somewhat bleak for the chareidi parties in Israel.

The revelation that a government coalition without Shas and United Torah Judaism is likely may be troubling for many to hear, but it is not a shock to those watching the recent upheavals in each of the parties and the progression of the secular parties in the Knesset.

Coalition chairman Zev Elkin, speaking at a panel discussion at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Yerushalayim, said that with issues like exemptions from the IDF, there is no right-wing bloc any longer, and the religious parties may find themselves on the outside looking in.

In October, UTJ said it would consider joining a coalition government of the Center-Left bloc instead of the Right.

Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev disagreed with Elkin, saying that Likud, without the chareidi parties, will need the leftists to form a coalition, and their policies are too divergent from that of Labor and Lapid for them to join together in a coalition.

In the meantime, Bnei Brak Mayor Yaakov Asher has been designated to the number-three spot on the Degel Hatorah party electoral list. The decision was made by Degel’s Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah on Monday night at a meeting at the home of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman.

As a result, the faction in Yerushalayim connected with Hapeles has threatened to run in the elections with a newly established party, Netzach. Yeshayahu Wein of Netzach says his group is following Rav Shmuel Auerbach and that the party will be presenting its list of candidates to the electoral commission tonight.

There is concern that Netzach will be a bust but that it might divert votes away from Degel Hatorah/Agudas Yisroel and cause some chareidim not to vote at all. UTJ could possibly lose a seat in the Knesset as a result.

Yaakov Asher’s designation may be irrelevant, because UTJ may well not receive the necessary number of votes to elect a third Degel candidate.

The people behind Netzach had wanted Menachem Carmel to keep the third spot on Degel’s electoral list, which he had in the last election. When that was rejected, they sprinted to create their own party, claiming to be the true continuation of the vision and hashkafah of Maran Rav Elazar Menachem Shach, who founded Degel Hatorah with great mesirus nefesh.

Time will tell, but there are those who doubt whether the Netzach party will indeed run in the upcoming election or if the latest maneuverings are nothing more than posturing and political gamesmanship.

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. As an American I am astonished at the low number of seats anticipated by Degel/Agudah. The Chareidi tzibbur is booming yet those parties can barely scrape together the minimum required for entry to the Knesset? Methinks there is a serious strategic flaw in their approach.