Israeli Elections and Charedi blocks
The Jerusalem Post has an interesting article about Charedi voting in tomorrow’s elections. But as far as I can figure, it combines much ado about nothing with wrong information.
Ya’acov Litzman, who is the Chairman of UTJ [United Torah Judaism, the combination of the charedi parties Agudat Yisrael and Degel HaTorah], says he fears “extremists” coming to Beit Shemesh to disrupt the elections. The Niturei Karta, at last count, numbered no more than 50 people (and probably much less). They can’t disrupt more than one polling station if the descend en masse. And while I recall seeing “action” in elections, the Edah Haredit wasn’t responsible for disruptions.
I think the Degel HaTorah spokesperson has it right: “Litzman’s comment was a tactic to awaken a haredi populace that has shown indifference to voting,” and nothing more. This is because “any attempts by the anti-election Edah Haredit… to intimidate traditional supporters would have a boomerang effect.”
The Edah isn’t really an extremist group. Their Kosher certification is responsible for a considerable portion of the strictly-kosher food available. True, they disagree with voting, but I doubt they’re going to go stand in the way. Maybe someone in Jerusalem can correct me in the comments, but this otherwise is likely to prove “much ado about nothing.”
Now here’s the quote which, I believe, is wrong.
Besides the Edah Haredit, the Slonim Hassidic sect, which numbers about 2,000 people of voting age, will also refrain from exercising their right to vote. The Slonim rebbes, Rabbi Shmuel Brozvosky of Jerusalem and Rabbi Avraham Weinberg of Bnei Brak, directed their followers not to vote after the Belz Hassidic sect left Agudat Yisrael. The rebbes felt that without Israel Eichler, the Belz representative in Agudat Yisrael, they had no control over decisions.
I wondered, “how is Slonim tied to Belz? Why would they vote or not vote based upon Israel Eichler?” [Eichler, a UTJ MK, was given only an unrealistic seat in the upcoming elections — seventh or so, when UTJ is likely to barely make a sixth seat.]
So I was confused. Within the hour, a charity collector from Israel knocks on our door, as happens frequently. I greet the gentleman. For what is he collecting? Mosdos Slonim, the Slonim synagogues and schools. They say nothing happens by accident…
So is Slonim not voting because of Belz? Nothing doing — or so he says, and, frankly, I trust a representative of Mosdos Slonim to know more about Slonimer thinking than an English-speaking JPost reporter. The Slonimer Rebbes were very upset by the UTJ’s silence on the disengagement from Gaza. Therefore, unlike previous elections, they did not actively call upon their chassidim to vote. So some will vote anyway, and some won’t.
And how about Belz, are they not voting? No, he said, but they will vote for either UTJ or Shas, rather than strictly for UTJ.
That’s all I have for now — tomorrow I hope to blog more information about the elections as we have it.