The radical Bnei Torah haredi faction is likely to instruct its supporters, numbering thousands of people, not to vote for the mainstream haredi party United Torah Judaism in the coming general election, a senior member of the group has said.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Bnei Torah party chairman and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem for the Bnei Torah party Haim Epstein said that the major causes behind the expected decision were the insufficient opposition of UTJ to the law for haredi conscription passed last year, and the continued exclusion of Bnei Torah from political representation in UTJ.
According to various estimates, Bnei Torah supporters number as many 20,000 people, worth approximately half a Knesset seat, meaning that if they refrain from voting, it could therefore cost UTJ an entire mandate.
“A final decision has yet to be taken but seems that Rabbi [Shmuel] Auerbach is leaning towards issuing an instruction not to vote for UTJ,” said Epstein.
“The issue of conscription to the army is the most critical problem that stands before us, yet the MKs of UTJ made all sorts of compromises and agreements when the law was created. Who gave them the right to decide how many people get to study in yeshiva and how many have to leave?” said Epstein in reference to the quotas for the number of haredi youth required to enlist every year by the new law.