|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem|
UTJ weighs backing aggressive peace agenda
By JEREMY SHARON
The move is likely a ploy by the ultra-Orthodox party to pressure Bayit Yehudi into scaling back rhetoric on haredi enlistment.
United Torah Judaism is currently considering whether or not to support an
aggressive peace agenda, sources within the party told The Jerusalem Post on
The move is likely a ploy by the ultra-Orthodox party to pressure
the Bayit Yehudi party and its leader Naftali Bennett into scaling back its
rhetoric on the issue of haredi enlistment.
During his inaugural Knesset
speech last week, Bennett called on haredim (ultra- Orthodox) to enlist, stating
that military service was a religious obligation and that the ultra-Orthodox
community must share the state’s economic and military burdens.
official told the Post that the party was considering supporting a raft of
measures such as a settlement freeze, the evacuation of unauthorized settlement
outposts and the reopening of peace negotiations with the
Such a move, he said, would allow the prime minister to
form a coalition with left leaning parties including The Tzipi Livni Party and
even Meretz, and leave Bayit Yehudi outside of the government.
noted that the upcoming visit of US President Barak Obama would likely bring new
pressure from the White House to make concessions to the Palestinians, something
that his party is now considering supporting.
The UTJ official said that
the preservation of military service exemptions for haredi yeshiva students was
the single most important issue on the party’s agenda and that UTJ would be
willing to compromise on other issues in order to maintain the status quo on
“The haredi public thinks that Bennett has gone to war
against them,” the UTJ official said. “We want to remind him that Netanyahu can
build a coalition without Bayit Yehudi and remind the national religious
community that Bennett ran a campaign on strengthening the national bloc and the
settlements, not on forming agreements with Yesh Atid.”
According to the
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, 17% of
voters in their region gave their support to the United Torah Judaism, as
opposed to Shas, which garnered only 10% of their vote.
particularly well in the two largest West Bank settlements, Modin Illit and
Beitar Illit, where more people voted for them than any other party.
Council calculates that 25,108 people voted for UTJ in Judea and Samaria, which
means that almost one of the party's seven mandates comes from that
Council spokesman Yigal Delmonti said in response that those in
UTJ who would support a freeze does not represent the population that voted for
them, because such a vote would only harm the religious communities and their
many supporters in Judea and Samaria.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this