The Charedi Vote Will Fizzle

That may be the safest prediction anyone could make – a sign of my cowardice. I will be more than happy to find out that I am wrong. But it has been this way for decades. If Knesset seats followed population growth, charedim should have added three seats every ten years because of its explosive growth, B”H. Instead, representation has remained at about seven, and it might decline to six this time around.

Besides the usual reasons for this phenomenon, a new wrinkle has been added. Anglo-charedim are beginning to behave like Westerners at the ballot box. We’ll have to see if their Israeli cousins are listening.

Not that they really need the example of Anglos to bolt from expected party loyalty. They’ve been doing it for quite some time. Although the charedi community can successfully enforce many kinds of behavior (which quite often is a good thing) through social pressure, its control does not follow people into the voting booth. There, charedi voters often do not vote Gimmel, but for alternatives like Shas and the Religious Zionists – and no one finds out about it.

The silent resisters are one cause for the abysmal record of charedi voting behavior. Another is apathy. Many, many charedim just don’t bother voting. They may assume that the outcome is guaranteed, or they may be fed up with the corruption, the power-grabs, the infighting among the charedi factions. That infighting got so bad that it took Bibi’s intervention to prevent Gimmel from splitting into Chassidic and non-Chassidic parties, which would likely have cost them seats. Those are seats that Bibi is counting on to reach the magic number of 61 for his right-leaning coalition. This possibility looms so large, that a popular Saudi pro-Israel blogger appealed to charedi voters to get out and vote Gimmel, in order to keep the Jewish State Jewish! No one, however, is betting on his appeal accomplishing more than those of respected charedi talmidei chachamim, which have failed to staunch the outflow of votes.

By now, there is another model of voting outside of the designated choices of charedi leadership. (One charedi who questioned a local rov about his right to vote was told, “Of course you have a right to vote. But we tell you whom to vote for!”) Anglo-charedim are doing things differently. In the municipal elections in Beit Shemesh (an Anglo-charedi stronghold) a few years ago, the present mayor was swept into office by lots of charedim. Despite explicit instructions from charedi leadership, they voted for the candidate that they felt would do a better job providing services in the city.

There is every reason to believe that this will continue, and grow. That means a not insignificant number of charedim voting independent of what the “street” demands. Estimates are that there are some 400,000 Anglos in Israel. If, as a rough guess, we use the Aliyah trends of the last decades, half of those would be Orthodox, of some variety. And half of those (at least) would be charedi. One hundred thousand souls includes quite a few voters.

Now, many of those have acclimated themselves entirely to the expectations of the charedi mainstream, and embrace them without hesitation. But a good many have not. They continue to hold on to values and ideas that were part of the more “chilled” practice of charedi Yiddishkeit in the West. They privately – and increasingly, not so privately – feel alienated from the Israeli variety. They are not willing to sacrifice any of their passion for strict adherence to halacha and the primacy of Torah study. But they are not able to accept practices and attitudes that run counter the way that they – all products of charedi yeshivos – understand Torah.

Yitzchok Goldknopf, who will become an MK for Agudah, tells Israeli media not to believe the polls about charedi voting. (Charedim don’t respond to phone polls, he says. The callers arouse suspicions that the party at the other end really works for the Tax Authority). Gimmel’s workers are doing a full-court press to deliver the vote. We wish them well. But ironically, Goldknopf’s own recent statements to the press will likely drive away far more Anglo-charedim than party loyalists will enlist. He has recently opined that: 1) Knowing Math and English has contributed nothing to the Israeli economy in the last twenty years; 2) Non-charedim have run the State for many decades and accomplished nothing. It is time to let charedim run the State; 3) Bnei yeshiva work harder than soldiers in the IDF. These are not the kind of statements that will please anyone with Western sensitivities. And if they are what win over the mainstream charedi “street,” Anglos are going to search for a different neighborhood.

Besides Goldknopf, what irritates Anglo-Charedim about Gimmel? Here is a partial list:

  • Charedi politicians have largely ignored Anglo needs. Parents who have sought help in establishing schools more to their liking have not only found no support, but have been actively blocked by them. In other words, Anglos who have tried to mainstream have often found that schools will not accept their children, because they want to keep out Americans and the culture and tastes they bring with them. But if those same Americans (some who have learned in charedi yeshivos here for many years) try to start their own schools – especially ones with government sanction known as Mamlachti Charedi – they are thwarted.
  • Anglos who have spoken of their reservations about charedi politics have been told paternalistically that there may be some truth to their grievances. Nonetheless, they have been told, when push comes to shove, how you vote is a defining element of charedism. Vote for a non-approved party or candidate, you are, ergo, no longer charedi. While some Anglos will cave and accept that, many reason differently. Any club founded on a principle like that is not one they are interested in joining.
  • Anglos were brought up to vote for whomever they thought would serve the interests of the nation, or state, or city, or whatever. They were taught that when compiling a list of issues that should concern them, Jewish and Torah interests should be at the top of the list. Except for bloc voting among chassidim, charedim in the US are very, very rarely instructed whom to vote for. (When Lakewood tried this in a NJ race a few years ago, voters roundly rejected the instructions.) Torah figures there generally know that if voters are told whom to vote for, they may very well resent the incursion into their autonomy and do the opposite.
  • Many Anglos are appalled by the lack of concern for many of the issues that the country faces as a whole. Charedi politicans do a good job in insisting on the Jewish character of the State while the Left tries whittling away at it. But on other issues, they stand ready at all times to trade their support for cash, because it means support for yeshivos, kollelim, chesed organizations – as well as jobs for their otherwise underskilled family members, relatives and friends. Many Anglos find it difficult to ignore the needs of the largest population of Jews in the world – even if they are not all charedim – especially since they were brought up to believe that Torah has important things to say about all issues that face humanity.
  • Another thing that they are tired of is the bastion mentality exhibited by the charedi politicicans – the dividing up of the world into good guys (us) and bad guys (everyone else). They are keenly aware of the challenges to Torah life by the likes of Avigdor Lieberman and Matan Kahana. But they reject the idea that the entire purpose of the State, from the time of its founding till today, is to obliterate Torah. They know this is not true, and bristle when it is claimed in their name.
  • Lastly, the best – really the only – argument that they hear from Gimmel as to why they should vote for approved candidates is Bekolo Tishme’un/ “you shall hearken to His voice.” This is accompanied by a picture of Rav Ovadia, or Rav Chaim, or yibadel le-chaim, Rav Gershon. (The poster designers seem completely oblivious to the blasphemous nature of the ads, which replace HKBH with basar v’dam. [See the only two places in Tanach where the phrase appears: Devarim 13:5, and Tehillim 95:7.]) This doesn’t work with Anglo-charedim, for a few reasons. 1) Like it or not, in the US in particular the concept of Daas Torah has taken too many hits through its overuse over the years – just like the word “assur,” which rarely means that. To be sure, it is de rigueur to pontificate about it in public. In private, however, Anglo-charedim make their own decisions – about women getting degrees, about smart phones, about which concerts they will attend. Invoking Daas Torah is not going to be the strongest argument for many Anglos. 2) The minds of many have been poisoned against full trust in Daas Torah. Too many verified stories about gatekeepers, too many scandals swept under the carpet. 3) The most recent iteration is a conversation with Rav Gershon, shlit”a, in which he responded to MK Yitzchok Pindrus’ question about people with grievances against UTJ politicians. Rav Gershon said that the reason to vote Gimmel has nothing to do with those politicians. We must vote Gimmel because it is a Kiddush Hashem, when others see us voting for our values. Anglos are just not going to buy this. Those values are indeed quintessential. But why not find a different party which will affirm those values, without producing the chilul Hashem so frequently made by some of the UTJ politicians?

Twenty years ago, Anglo-charedim had no choice. There were two “clubs” within the religious community, and it was a no-brainer that olim with yeshiva background were going to go mainstream charedi. Today, there are enough of the disaffected to start their own club. If their critical mass will not turn out to impact this next election, it is only a matter of time till it does.

May HKBH save us from ourselves, and may we wake up Wednesday morning to minimally learn that, to paraphrase Tricky Dick Nixon, we don’t have Lieberman, Yulia Malinovsky, or Gilad Kariv to kick us around anymore.

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51 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    Here’s a theme seen in some authorities on voting:

    שו”ת עשה לך רב חלק ב סימן סג
    אבל, אם יודע האדם במסתרי לבו שבחירה זאת שהולך לבחור אינה טובה לתקנת הקהל, ומצביע הוא כך משום שבקשוהו לעשות
    כן, וכל – שכן אם הבטיחו לו טובות הנאה (אגב, פרט זה יעויין היטב בשו”ת חתם – סופר חלק חו”מ סי’ ק”ס) תמורת הצבעתו, הרי שהצבעה זאת אינה לשם שמים, ואם יצביע כך חל עליו חרם.

    If one thinks that he’s voting against the community’s best interest because he’s been asked to or been promised favors, his vote is not for shem shamayim and he should be in cherem


    • Sarah Elias says:

      What are you quoting here? Sounds pretty convenient.

      • joel rich says:

        ביוגרפיה – עשה לך רב
        R. Chaim David son of R. Moshe Ha – Levi was born in Jerusalem, in 5684 (1924), to a family of Turkish descent. He studied in the Porat Yosef Yeshiva (alongside R. Ovadiah Yosef and R. Ben Zion Abba Shaul). He was a close student of the Rosh Yeshiva, R. Ezra Atiya, and the Chief Sefardic Rabbi, R. Uziel. After fighting in the Israeli War of Independence, he became the rabbi of several neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and was the personal secretary of R. Uziel. In 5711 (1951), he became the rabbi of Rishon L’Tzion. In 5733 (1973), he became rabbi of Tel Aviv, filling the position of his friend from his youth, R. Ovadiah Yosef, who was then appointed Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Israel. He passed away in 5758 (1998). He authored several books, including Mekor Chaim: a five – volume collection of laws and customs, arranged and explained in a clear manner, followed by a condensed version of the set, appearing as the single volume, “Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Mekor Chaim”. The five – volume set was first published between 5727 – 5734 (1967 – 1974), and the condensed version in 5735 (1975). It has since been republished on several occasions. He also published Mekor Chaim Le – Bnot Yisrael; Shut Aseh Lecha Rav (a nine – volume responsa series covering all four sections of Shulchan Aruch and issues of faith in a clear and easy wording); Shut Mayim Chaim (a three – volume responsa series, published between 5751 – 5758 /1991 – 1998); Dvar Ha – Mishpat (three volumes on the Rambam’s Laws of Sanhedrin)and many other works. To date, the Responsa Project includes Dvar Ha – Mishpat, and the Aseh Lecha Rav and Mayim Chaim responsa series.

        quoitng the Chatam Sofer


  2. D K says:

    The article was unfortunately very one sided and was based upon a very narrow lense. Furthermore, the article was largely based on the fact that Gimmel (“The” Chareidi party [what happened to Shas?]) is based solely on the Anglo vote.
    Gimmel [and Shas] run their organization based on their Da’as Torah. While Shas does push social issues, Gimmel is based on the Agudas Yisroel stance of old which is fighting against the change of the status quo of the religious character of Israel. And while they do what they are able to regarding the economy and other matters to help their constituents [i personally have emailed Chareid MK’s and recieved help, can one do that with non-Chareidi parties???] their main focus is keeping the status quo.
    Regarding their “stunted” growth, there are many factors. One is the influx of Russian immigrants, another the Arab birth rate, and yet another the amount of Chareidim that follow their Rabbanim and don’t vote. I believe that Chareidim are 10% of the population and with Gimmel at 7 and Shas at 9, that means that 15% of MK’s are Chareidi. Not bad (i understand that many non-Chareidim vote for Shas).
    Yes, Goldknof said some stupid things. He’s never really been in the Knesset so he has a lot to learn. But that doesn’t mean he represents Gimmel, which BTW, is really a coalition between Yahadut HaTorah and Agudah. For them to run separately is nothing special being that they are 2 different parties…
    I just hope and pray that you are completely wrong about the good points you did bring up and that the anglo’s that have made Aliya see the bigger picture and the need to have a strong religious party in the Knesset to counteract that anti-religious attitute that prevades the lefty and central parties of the Knesset and choose the right way.
    Blessings for Gimmel to get to Meah V’Esrim!

  3. William l Gewirtz says:

    Eventually Haredim will realize that their success depends on the success of the state overall. As a result, the extremists like the new-fangled Mizrachi “Land-uber-Alles” adherents, will gravitate to a yet more radical party than Gimmel. The rest will choose between right or left leaning parties with positions on all that really matters to the state.

    Your analysis describes the current reality, which may last at most another decade. But eventually, reality finds its way everywhere.

  4. Meir says:

    Correction: In the Beit Shemesh elections, Rav Chaim z”tl visited and pushed voting for the Chareidi parties (Specifically Chen, the local Degel HaTorah party) more than for voting for Mayor Abutbul, who was hardly mentioned. And as it turned out, indeed, the Chareidi parties received a majority of the votes, and of seats on the city council.

    Additionally, Chareidim in the USA understand that activists with ties to certain political parties have to be seen to push voting for those parties. regardless of whether Torah Yidden should be voting for them or not. It is generally activists and organizations, NOT Rabbanim, that say to vote for that party.

    Lastly, you fail to mention that many Chareidim, including some of the groups with the highest birthrates, b’shitah don’t vote in the national elections. You can hardly draw a direct line from birthrate to knesset representation. Better to look at the municipal elections, although even those don’t have full representation.

  5. Meir B says:

    This article made me sad. It made me think of the recent Gemara we learned in Daf Yomi:

    רַבִּי אַבָּא מְנַשֵּׁק כֵּיפֵי דְעַכּוֹ. רַבִּי חֲנִינָא מְתַקֵּן מַתְקָלַיָּה. רַבִּי אַמֵּי וְרַבִּי אַסִּי

    קָיְימִי מִשִּׁמְשָׁא לְטוּלָּא וּמִטּוּלָּא לְשִׁמְשָׁא. רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר גַּמָּדָא מִיגַּנְדַּר בְּעַפְרַהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי רָצוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶת אֲבָנֶיהָ וְאֶת עֲפָרָהּ יְחוֹנֵנוּ״

    . Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi Asi would stand and pass from a sunny spot to a shady one, and from a shady spot to a sunny one, so that they would always sit in comfort and never have cause to remark that they were uncomfortable in Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Gamda would roll in the dust of the land, as it is stated: “For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and love her dust” (Psalms 102:15).

    אָמַר רַבִּי זֵירָא אָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בַּר אַבָּא: דּוֹר שֶׁבֶּן דָּוִד בָּא — קָטֵיגוֹרְיָא בְּתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים
    The Gemara continues to discuss the messianic age. Rabbi Zeira said that Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said: In the generation in which the son of David will come there will be indictments [kateigorya], i.e., denouncements and incitements against Torah scholars.

    • Shaya Karlinsky says:

      The article also made me sad. Especially since it is true.
      For added perspective – and maybe a little additional sadness, we need to know the pasuk in Devarim (4:6):
      כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם לְעֵינֵי הָעַמִּים
      For [the Torah] is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations
      Comments Rashi:
      כי היא חכמתכם ובינתכם וגו’ – בזאת תחשבו חכמים ונבונים לעיני העמים:
      Through this (the Torah) you will be considered people of wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations.
      If the Torah is presented in a way that makes us – Torah observant Jews – appear stupid and a mockery in the eyes of the nations, this is a perversion of the Torah. Unfortunately this is what is happening before our eyes in this campaign.
      None of Rabbi Adlerstein’s critical points implied anything bad about Eretz Yisrael. It did highlight a cross section of the nonsensical statements coming from the leader of a charedi party, used by the most vicious anti-religious party in their own advertisements to attract voters. The mockery it created is not what the Gemara in Kesuvos was referring to “ denouncements and incitements against Torah scholars.” It is what Rashi is referring to when he sets the standard of authentic Torah being the evidence of our wisdom and understanding.
      Nothing in Rabbi Adlerstein’s post stands in opposition to what Rebbi Ami, Rebbi Asi and Rebbei Hiya bar Gamda did. They were looking to be comfortable and luxuriate in the kedusha of the LAND. No probem is being implied about Eretz Yisrael. There may, however, be a problem with the people who are claiming to represent Torah in Eretz Yisrael.

      • Rivka Leah says:

        Good points you have raised. Implied criticism in the post is is more towards Gimmel’s packaging, rather than against Torah or her authentic representatives.

        Rabbi Adlerstein seems to be pointing to the potential fallout of the continued reliance on very unsophisticated approaches to wooing constituents – As long as the chareidi parties assume that the Torah community is a captive audience, they have no need for soul-searching.

        As an American Israeli – i consider voting Gimmel to be sort of like taking a census – I want to stand up and be counted – ” Here is another one who sees life through a Torah lense”. Representation is important.

        But when our elected officials disappoint – whether for minor gaffes, major gaffes (like the math comment for someone who wants to be Finance Minister), or much worse (protecting Liefer), it becomes harder to put that Gimmel in the box.

        But since I haven’t found any other politician/party who inspires particular confidence, my vote stands.

        If I didn’t think this black hole of proper leadership was just integral to the winding down of a process towards the era of Moshiach, I would be depressed.

        ?למי יש להישען אלא אבינו שבשמים

  6. Mycroft says:

    A non scientific observation consistent with Rabbi Adlerstein’s. My wife has pointed out over the years that we see a far smaller percentage of Kipot serugot on the JFK-TLV route. Extreme example recent trip on plane she claimed I was only classical Kipot serugah, a couple of black velvet but vast majority of Jews were clearly Hareidim.
    I’ve also commented for decades that religious Jews have been saying demographically the future is all theirs in Israel. I first heard this in my first visit to Israel over half a century ago. Yet look at Knesset votes – there has not been a sea change in favor of Dati percentages. There has always been religious Jews who were involved in other parties.
    Even with the higher reproductive rate of dati Israelis one would have expected more but it hasn’t. BTW not as obvious because of increased percentage of Hareidi Jews in the US even that has not kept up with the number that should be wo losses.

  7. Michael Halberstam says:

    Excellent analysis. I have always admired that you have not accepted the notion that we have to accept what we believe is wrong because of who says it. Far too much cognative dissonance goes into this. Perhaps some of the recent arguments which have ripped through our Chareidi communities recently are a sign that HKBH wants us to be more honest with ourselves and pay more attention to what we think He wants.

  8. lacosta says:

    i wonder what proportion of haredi women refuse to vote Gimmel/Shas , because those are the only parties in Israel , Jewish or Arab, where they are guaranteed to have neither voice nor representation….

    • Jay says:

      Probably about the same as the proportion of women who refused to attend Hakhel because of מלך ולא מלכה.

  9. Reb Yid says:

    The results will, quite frankly, be catastrophic no matter the precise totals tomorrow.

    Eich naflu giborim.

    • D K says:

      Boruch Hashem, Rabbi Adlerstein was mistaken (but happy) and no catastrophe occurred. Gimmel actually recieved 10,000 more votes than last years election. 3,000 of those were from the above mentioned Bet Shemesh, which seems to get more and more Chareidi as time goes on.
      I believe that the takeaway from this is not to believe a bunch of loud, disgruntled, former Chareidi teenagers who hang out all day on social media complaining about how Gimmel didn’t give them tons of free stuff like the other parties do…

      • Happy, indeed, to look at Knesset 25 with a majority of the ruling coalition Shomrei Shabbos. But I was not mistaken in the least. The finals are that UTJ garnered 7 seats, as usual. They did not pick up an eighth.
        They also did not pick up many new votes. In the voting for the 22nd Knesset in 2019, they picked up 268,775 votes (Source: ). This week, they showed a negligible gain, bringing
        the total up to 280,125 (Source: ) The gain of 11,000 votes is far less than the number of charedim who turned 18 during the interval – although I don’t know how
        many voters died during that time. Whatever, the turnout for Gimmel from the charedi population is disappointing, as usual – regardless of how their spin-doctors have treated it.

  10. Jay says:

    In sum, many Anglo-Charedim who moved here over the past two decades want their own party. Get your high echelon Rabbinic leadership together (preferably some on whom one would consider making the berachah of שחלק מחכמתו ליראיו, as was said about R’ Gershon about 40 years ago), your own representatives, and go for it. Until you have it, this whole piece is a good way to vent, but has no practical meaning for anyone who actually wants to follow Rabbinic guidance. (If you don’t want to follow any Rabbinic guidance at all, you’re a fool, even if you are an Anglo. At least as big a fool as those who voted for Bennett-Shaked last time around, or those who said, with the self-awareness of a rock, to vote Shaked this time around because the Charedim might join the Left. ) Meanwhile, understand that the Medinah will either turn out to be a Yachin Rasha VeTzadik Yilbash, or will not be a Jewish state at all. It’s that stark.

    • Um, no! Haven’t heard any pretensions about their own party. They don’t need one. Not if they can find receptivity in other parties to their needs, and can deliver votes if those needs are met. They are being courted
      by several parties. Gimmel was the last to begin paying attention to them.

      As far as following Rabbinic guidance, while I personally believe that it should be sought, only those with blinders on could deny that there is a thriving population of yeshiva-educated charedim in the US who pay lip service to the idea of
      Daas Torah – but essentially do what they want, while seeking halachic guidance from their local rov. You can call it folly, but it is a fact of life. And there is no reason why this will not become the case here in Israel even among non-Anglos, sicne there is
      so much cynicism about Daas Torah among young people. (Again, I think that this is not the way things should be, but it is a natural consequence of the misappropriation/chassidization of the idea of Daas Torah over the last decades.) In any event, quiet, anonymous
      leadership of Anglos from people for whom you do need to make that berachah. As far as where the Medinah will lead, we’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, I’m going to guess that you are dead wrong.

      • Jay says:

        If that’s the approach, go to Shas (like the Biala Rebbe openly is). They’re far more open to the Anglo educational mindset. Carve our a separate title for yourselves that identifies you as separate from the Litvishe mainstream in Israel, and no one has a problem with you. R’ Gershon was willing to go all the way and ostracize Belz over breaching the non-government-intervention Chinuch model precisely because of Belz’ clear identification as mainstream Charedi, and that was his unadulterated, not gatekeeper-fashioned, not Chassidic, Daas Torah. Had Netanyahu not promised funding should he get elected, or had Bibi lost, Belz would have joined the Sephardic Bnei Yosef school system. Signed deal. It won’t happen on R’ Gershon’s watch, and may not happen for the next several decades, unless you are willing to accept second-class, nisht fun unzere status.

      • No problem with that. Consistent with what I wrote. People who were expected to vote for Gimmel voted Shas and Yahadut HaTorah, feeling that they could represent Torah values as well.

        You are almost certainly correct. If Anglo-charedim do get their act together in coming years, it will be under a banner sufficiently different from that of the mainstream, so that they will not have to
        battle it. It won’t be a direct threat. But they will not be so concerned with their “second-class, nisht fun unzere status.” They won’t be second class charedim, so much as have their own identity, and increasingly, their
        own schools. It won’t be so lonely. It already isn’t. What you are telling me is as frightening to me as knowing that Satmar leadership considers me a sheigetz because of my support for Israel. It just doesn’t affect my lifestyle.

      • Jay says:

        They don’t need one. Not if they can find receptivity in other parties to their needs, and can deliver votes if those needs are met. They are being courted
        by several parties. Gimmel was the last to begin paying attention to them.

        But you’re unhappy with the reps! Why do you want to have anything to do with them? And by the way, the Chassidim are far more to blame for the drop in numbers than the Lithuanians whose 18-20 year old cohort follow their Rashei Yeshiva (admittedly including the Eitzniks). The concern for the drop was with Ger and R’ Shaul Alter and Belz, much less with the Litvaks.

      • First of all, don’t shoot the messenger. The piece was not about my preferences, but about those of a large and growing part of the Torah world. Second, who says that they will want to have anything to do with the present roster of Gimmel MKs? Maybe they will go elsewhere. They can always get a bracha from certain rebbes in the NY area who will always go with the highest bidder, regardless of how otherwise unsavory they may be.

  11. Caren May says:

    100% true analysis Reb Yitzchak!

    One point that was overlooked, Anglo Olim of Torah-true ideology are mainly conservative, security conscious & right wing. The Charedi parties over the years have flip flopped on almost all issues of Eretz Hashlayma, Oslo/Gush Katif/building in Yehuda VShomron. The settlement community has grown & included in every yishuv are Anglo/Western Charedim, who are tired of the passive attitude of Charedi parties. Residents of Betar, Kiryat Sefer, Emanuel, Michmas, Givat Zev, Nvei Yaakov, Moshav Mattiyahu, etc.. have a brotherhood with תושבי יהודה ושומרון which is increasing & growing.

    • Mycroft says:

      Interesting you list Neve Yacov among the settlements, it is beyond the green line but within municipal boundaries of Jerusaljem. Israel has annexed that territory unlike areas in what Israel calls the territories.
      BTW Neve Yacov named after founder of Mizrachi R Yacov Reines essential founder of Mizrachi.
      Parts of Neve Yacov – certainly Kamenetz very Chareidi- but area includes a swimming pool and a according to Google Maps the headquarters of Israeli Army Central Command.

  12. Sass says:

    “Instead, representation has remained at about seven, and it might decline to six this time around.”

    With 90% of the vote counted, it appears UTJ will get 8 seats. As Joel Rich often reminds us, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

    • Sorry. With the final tally, it is only seven. No new seat

      • Jay says:

        The whole difference between the seventh and eighth seat was under 1000 votes. A whole mandate of Ashkenazim voted Shas – and no one has much of a problem with that either. If the Arabs hadn’t raised their engagement by 10%, Gimmel would have it. So instead of some Anglos, who sat it out perhaps because you said so, getting English-speaking Pindrus in, they got another member of Lieberman’s party in. You were so right, it’s incredible. Break out the champagne.

      • I’m reserving my champagne for the fact that for the first time, a majority of the members of Knesset’s ruling coalition will be shomrei Shabbos. In my book, there’s the kiddush Hashem that R Gershon was looking for.

        My powers of persuasion, I’m afraid, are greatly exaggerated. My piece likely did not persuade a single voter to bolt Gimmel – especially since it only reported on reasons for dissatisfaction, and didn’t attempt to influence
        anyone’s ballot choice. If I did unwittingly, it would be batel b’me’ah in the number of votes lost because of the utter stupidity of recent comments by UTJ’s new #1

  13. D K says:

    Boruch Hashem, the dire predictions were unfounded. Gimmel recieved 30,000 more votes than the last election and Shas recieved 70,000 more. This means instead of “fizzling”, there were a total of 100,000 more votes, equivalent to 3 more Knesset seats. If one adds the seat of Noam (Chareidi Zionists), this means that there are around 20 Chareidi MK’s, 1/6th of the Knesset. Being that there are around 25 other MK’s that are religious, this means that the Knesset is comprised of around 45 religious members, 38% of the Knesset.

    • No, we were talking about Gimmel, not other groups. And they did not pick up a new seat, The total for Gimmel was only 6,000 votes more than their previous high of 274,437 in 2020.

  14. Steven Brizel says:

    Time will tell what influence Anglo Charedim have on the Charedi world . In the meantime, rumors of Netanyahu’s demise seem exaggerated

    • Caren May says:

      Not sure if Anglo Charedim desire to have an influence on the Israeli Charedi world or Vice versus.
      As the years progress…there will be various & diverse factions of each . Baruch HaShem!

  15. D K says:

    With all due respect, but the title of this article is, “The Charedi Vote Will Fizzle”. Gaining 30,000 votes more than the last election and even 6,000 more from the election in 2019 cannot be considered “fizzling”. The fact that the didn’t get an 8th seat because of a handful of votes does not discount this.
    The article did bring up some good points, such as the MK growth does not reflect the population growth, which was addressed by some of the responses in the comment section. But fizzle it was not. And definitely not a result of Anglo-dissidence to Gimmel.
    Also, if i can ask, why is Shas being ignored as a Chareidi party?

    • The issue is not the 8th seat. The issue is how strong Gimmel’s hold is on a population widely assumed to vote for whom they are told. Between 2019 and 2023, according to gov’t figures a reader sent me after the last time I crunche numbers, 450,000 new voters
      were added to the rolls. You do the arithmetic, using accepted figures on the Lithuanian yeshiva community’s share of the population. A gain of 6000 is nowhere near what they should have gotten without trying – if the charedi world were not so divided, and if it did not
      generate so much disaffection. That’s what I meant by fizzling – turning in a lackluster performance, and trying to spin it as if they had made great gains. They didn’t. At some point they will have to realize that their hold on what should be party stalwarts is loosening.

      Why did I not include Shas voters? Because they have an entirely different pitch to their base, and the factors I identified as troubling some Gimmel voters simply do not trouble them. It is not surprising at all that so many vote Likud. It is more surprising – and a real achievement on their part – that they have so many who do vote for them who are not fully observant

      • C V May says:

        Take a look at Israeli papers which details voting trends from various communities, many cities/yishuvim that in the past had a larger percentage to Gimmel or Shas shows an increase in votes to Religious Zionists. (Kiryat Malachi, Har Nof, Betar, Old City, etc.etc.)
        The old Agudah stance of Israel does not include working Charedim, Charedim who are fulfilling some type of IDF service, strong security/police, consequences to terrorists, change in Judicial makeup, increased building in Yehuda/Shmoron, increasing Torah content in schools, and a touch of nationalism (tzionut).

        Charedim (Anglo/Olim) find the above in Shas or Religious Zionist parties, especially first time young voters.

  16. Jay says:

    The gain of 11,000 votes is far less than the number of charedim who turned 18 during the interval – although I don’t know how many voters died during that time.

    Nor do you know how many of them or Eitz-niks.

    • That is a curious reinvention of the Real Scotsman fallacy. We should not count Etz as an example of the inability of Gimmel to keep its voters in line, because a large number of them have organized themselves into a separate identity, Therefore, they are no longer part of Gimmel’s universe. But isn’t that exactly the point? That’s like arguing that if the Democrats lose 25% of their registered voters because they decide to call themselves Independents, the Dems shouldn’t feel so bad.

      The entire premise of my piece is that there are large fault lines in the charedi electoral edifice, which mean that its strength as a bloc never has kept up with its population growth, and didn’t in this election either. There certainly is hope that they can clean up their act in the future, and take better advantage of their population growth, b’chasei Hashem.

      • Jay says:

        The reason they lost the Eitzniks was due to a strong ideological stance firmly set down by RAYL Steinman and R’ Chaim Kanievsky. They knowingly threw the Eitz-niks overboard. The better parallel is 25% of the Democrat party becomes pro-Hamas and calls for immediate nuclear Jihad against Israel and the Dems tell them to get lost. That’s a knock?

      • The number of seats associated with Gimmel has been seven from a time well before Etz/Peleg became an issue. But you do have a good point in pointing to the weakness being on the Agudah side, rather than on the Degel side. We should regroup after we all have a chance to look at precinct-by-precinct results, and see what we can learn about the voting in both Degel and Agudah strongholds in the last election.

  17. Yaakov says:

    Degel received 30,000!!! more votes than last election. That proves your entire analysis wrong, Period. The person spinning here is you.

    First, you chose 2019 as your base to ‘prove’ yourself correct despite the facts (30,000!! More votes) being directly against you. Then, when you were caught on that ‘cherry picking spin’ by DK, you doubled down and chose another number to try to prove yourself correct despite that fact (30,000!! more) against you.
    According to any honest reading of your original article, the point wasn’t that Degel would only get a ‘few thousand more’ than their previous high. The point was that Degel would ‘fizzle’ and get less than the previous election or close to it. Maybe a few thousand more. Some very disappointing number. That was the clear intent of your article and analysis. You were proven completely 100% wrong. Now, instead of humbly admitting a mistake, you continue to cherry picking the numbers.
    You can keep on claiming that 2+2=5, i.e. 30,000!! more is not a success, but rather a ‘fizzle’. But the bottom line is, the vast majority of the Chareidi public listened to the Gedolim and Rabbinic leaders and voted Gimmel, and that’s why they went up 30,000. What number would you have accepted as proof that you were wrong- 40,000? 50,000? 60,000?
    I am sure you will respond. Please include in your response why (in your Nov. 3rd 5:56 PM post) you chose the 2019 election (268,000) as your baseline comparison instead of the 2021 election (248,000)? The answer is clear.
    B”H, Hashem saved us, and, despite your prediction and analysis, we woke up Wednesday morning to minimally learn that, to paraphrase Tricky Dick Nixon, we don’t have Lieberman, Yulia Malinovsky, or Gilad Kariv to kick us around anymore. B”H.

    • Let’s spell this out, because some of our readers appear to be both math and English challenged, which is fine for those who are Goldknopf fans.

      Here are the number of ballots cast for Gimmel in the last five elections
      Knesset 21 2019 249,049
      22 2019 268,775
      23 2020 274,437
      24 2021 248,391
      25 2022 280,169

      The high (two years ago) was 274K The low (last year) was 248K Why anyone would want to measure the effectiveness of a campaign to one’s base by looking at the lowest number they garnered is beyond me. The point is that from a high of 274K two years ago, they only managed to add some 6K votes, after telling everyone that the religious nature of the state depended on this election (true!), and that those who failed to vote as instructed were likely to wind up in Gehinnom (we’ll have to wait for the reports to come in.) Is that a sign of strength? Especially since the natural growth of the community contributed far more than 6000 new voters in the interim! The sole point of the original piece is that, for whatever reasons you want to highlight (Etz; Satmar; apathy – and they are all likely true), the non-Shas part of the charedi world has never delivered on its potential. It has never produced the number of seats in Knesset that parallels its demographic strength.

      Webster’s Unabridged: FIZZLE To make a ridiculous failure in an undertaking, especially after a good start; to achieve nothing. Not delivering on the potential of your base very neatly fits that definition.

      We’ll leave it to the readership to decide who is doing the spinning.

    • Caren May says:

      Is there a specific reason that you state facts in an angry, hostile tone…? דרכי נועם is the sole Derech to educate, model & mentor.
      Our Torah parties leadership & individuals have to take a breath of air before expressing & responding in words.

  18. [from a reader, sent off-line]:
    ​If you want to make it really simple for people you can use the following:

    There was a 5% increase in eligible voters and a 3.85% increase in total votes cast in these elections over the March 2020 elections. Gimmel only had a 2% increase in its total votes even though the charedi population is growing at close to two and a half times the rate of the general population. Gimmel’s is not even keeping up with the general population’s growth rate! (Gimmel should have seen at least a ​Gimmel should have seen at least a 5.5% increase if it was keeping up with a conservative estimate of the growth of the chareidi community​
    In 2020 (when they got 274,437 votes) they received 6.01% of the total votes cast while now they’ve received 5.84% of total votes cast.

    While Goldknuf doesn’t believe in the value of teaching math, hopefully there is someone in Gimmel who can do math

    • Jay says:

      Where to lay most of the blame for this is also very easy.

      1988 election is the last one Degel and Agudah were separate. Results
      Degel: 34,279
      Agudah: 102,714

      When Degel considered splitting off from Agudah for this past election, they were shown polls. Degel passing the threshold was questionable, Agudah definitely not. So:
      Degel: ~150,000-155,000
      Agudah: ~125,000-130,000 (to complete total of 280,000.

      Degel has 4.5% annual growth rate in sheer numbers over that time.

  19. Shaul Shapira says:

    I think one distinction which needs to be drawn is between UTJ voters choosing to vote for non-charedi parties, versus staying home out of apathy or a feeling that UTJ has strayed from the true mesorahTM (However the disaffected person defines that.) The former is much stronger evidence in favor of your thesis than the latter is. Obviously, the electoral outcome is the same, but the takeaway is very different. I think that that distinction is what’s driving some of the disagreement on this site about how to interpret the results. Having large swathes of an ostensibly loyal Bnei Brak base turning out to vote Likud or Yesh Atid etc because they identify with what those parties represent is very different than those same voters staying home because they believe that UTJ has betrayed its mission and become just like those aforementioned parties.

    At any rate, kudos for providing a characteristically well thought out and non-hysterical take on the situation. Please keep ’em coming.

    • Correct. And the question can be easily resolved. The government provides the numbers, polling place by polling place. All it will take is a few number crunchers to look at precincts heavily dominated by UTJ voters, and compare the results in the last few elections.

  20. Caren May says:

    “Earlier this week, Behadrey Haredim reported that the hasidic Council of Torah Sages, which advises UTJ’s Agudat Yisrael faction, told the faction’s MKs that the legislation of the Override Clause would be a condition for joining the coalition” .. this was advocated particularly by the Rebbe of Vishnitz.

    For those not aware the “Override Clause” is a law waiting to be voted on which diminishes the power of the Supreme Court, which is a self-appointed liberal clan of judicial persons who decide on the law usually in contrast to Knesset ruling (which is decided upon by the population). In the past they decided (against Knesset ruling) to destroy and evacuate yishuvim in the Gush area, vote against religious/halachic rulings, and to punish so called “jewish terrorists” and not “Arab terrorists. (some examples)

    Why am I bringing up the request of the Agudah faction of UTJ to your readers? This is another reason the UTJ voters have fewer voters and you can check on polling stations which have a higher SHAS and RELIGIOUS ZIONISTS voting poll than in the past where UTJ was the majority.. Charedi/Torah residents of Israel are also minding the shop, looking at their country and what will benefit the Religious Kehillah, they do not see that concern vocalized by UTJ officials. So they stay home on election day, or put a ticket into Shas, Likud or Religious Zionists.

    • D K says:

      So in essence, what you are saying is that Agudah and Degel should go against what their Rabbanim advise them to do in order to garner more votes.
      2 issues with that:
      1) By going against their Rabbanim they may get some more voters who instead voted for Shas or the RZ parties. But on the other hand, the base of their voters, the Chariedim who will follow Daas Torah to the end will leave them (this is the issue that Etz members have with Gimmel). Its hard to believe that getting 1-2 more seats which anyways went to righty parties justifies the ending of their connection with Daas Torah, both from a religious view and from a practical view.
      2) Even without taking voters into account. The Agudah (and Degel) were created to fight against the anti-religious views and actions of the Zionists. To say that they should give up their stand on the “override clause”, which allows the Bagat”z to use their dictatorial powers to project their anti-religious views on the citizens of the State of Israel, is simply missing the whole purpose of their purpose in the Knesset.

  21. Caren May says:

    “So in essence, what you are saying is that Agudah and Degel should go against what their Rabbanim advise them to do in order to garner more votes”.

    If you recall the name of this post is “The Charedei Vote Will Fizzle”, my above post is an additional reason why the voting masses have not increased and why there are not 8 -9 MKs in the Charedei party. Your assumptions and factual inaccuracies are many.

    The “Override Clause” was initiated over five years ago by Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party, her role and goal was to change the entire Judicial system, including the appointment of judges, ability to change Knesset rulings and act as the ruling party without the consent of the voters. Unfortunately this law was never voted on or passed and the opposition at the time (many Charedei parties were not in favor).

    This year, one of the main demands of the Religious Zionist party was to pass the “Override Clause” and a majority of voters were in agreement therefore voting in that direction. It was never mentioned by Degel until the Vishnitzer Rebbe declared just recently that they will not join the coalition without Bibi agreeing to pass this clause.
    ” To say that they should give up their stand on the “override clause”, which allows the Bagat”z to use their dictatorial powers to project their anti-religious views on the citizens of the State of Israel, is simply missing the whole purpose of their purpose in the Knesset”,,,,, HUH!!! HUH!!! (they never had that stand)

    Since there has been an increase in Bnei Torah/ Charedeim (among them olim) in the working arena, a request to appoint a Charedei MK who can engage with this sector has been requested yet not fulfilled yet.
    THEREFORE—– ” Charedi/Torah residents of Israel are also minding the shop, looking at their country and what will benefit the Religious Kehillah, they do not see that concern vocalized by UTJ officials. So they stay home on election day, or put a ticket into Shas, Likud or Religious Zionists” (above post).


  22. Jay says:

    It was never mentioned by Degel until the Vishnitzer Rebbe declared just recently that they will not join the coalition without Bibi agreeing to pass this clause.

    Totally incorrect. Gafni put it straight on the table as his number 1 demand at the onset of the Netanyahu-Gantz government.

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