Non-hassidic haredi leaders look to political unity
A long-running political saga in the non-hassidic haredi world was set to be resolved with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach set to endorse UTJ.
Haredi men in Jerusalem Photo: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post
A long-running political saga in the non-hassidic haredi world was set to be
resolved on Wednesday night, with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach set to endorse the
United Torah Judaism electoral ticket despite a months-long feud with the
party’s spiritual leadership.
According to a UTJ official, Auerbach was
to publish a declaration in the major haredi daily newspapers on Thursday
morning calling for the haredi community to vote UTJ.
Auerbach was nudged
aside in a power struggle for leadership of the non-hassidic, or “Lithuanian,”
haredi community last year by Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, who was ultimately
acknowledged as the “leader of the generation” by other senior haredi
Despite this, Auerbach and his supporters led something of an
insurgency against Shteinman, and established their own newspaper and political
party, Netzach, in competition with Degel Hatorah, the non-hassidic party of the
UTJ Judaism Knesset faction.
Auerbach’s supporters in Netzach had been
threatening to run in the upcoming election to compete with UTJ for the
traditional haredi vote.
The about-turn by Auerbach appears to be a
promise by Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman to the rabbi that he would be
consulted regarding any proposals relating to the enlistment of haredi men into
The haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat reported that
Auerbach’s hard-core supporters were still unlikely to vote for UTJ and that the
simmering dispute with the community would linger on.