Shas steady; UTJ hails gains

The surprise in the haredi sector was United Torah Judaism, with about six mandates.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
March 29, 2006 02:00

Shas activists who gathered in Jerusalem's Knesset Towers Hotel reacted coolly to exit polls that gave the party about 11 mandates - no change from the previous Knesset. The surprise in the haredi sector was United Torah Judaism, with about six mandates - one more than in the previous Knesset. One poll by Reshet Bet gave UTJ eight mandates. MK Avraham Ravitz, No. 2 on the UTJ list, said the rise was a result of increased support among non-haredi voters. Haredi political commentators Yossi Elituv of Mishpacha and Ya'acov Rivlin of Bekehila said the Shas results were especially disappointing considering the low voter turnout, which should have helped Shas, which is supported by a hard-core group of supporters that exhibits higher than average voting percentages. However, other haredi commentators, such as Yitzhak Nachshoni, said that Shas's ability to maintain its constituency throughout three years in the opposition was impressive. Most commentators expected a Shas-UTJ bloc to be a part of any coalition. Both haredi parties could support territorial compromise within the framework of a peace agreement.


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