(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog raised eyebrows Tuesday night when he attended a wedding of United Torah Judaism chairman Ya'acov Litzman's granddaughter.
Litzman's associates said the two party leaders have been close for many years and Herzog attending the wedding had no political implications. They noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called to congratulate Litzman and would have attended the wedding had his security team permitted it.
But Herzog has deepened his relationship with haredi (ultra-Orthodox) leaders, who remember fondly that he was part of the Tal Commission that enabled tens of thousands of haredim to avoid army service.
Herzog has been careful to not answer questions about whether he would support removing criminal sanctions from haredi draft dodgers. Channel 10 reported that in private conversations, he had agreed to compromise on the matter.
Answering a question from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at a foreign press briefing Tuesday, Herzog said he believes in dialogue with ultra-Orthodox groups. He boasted that as cabinet secretary, he reached a solution that enabled non-Orthodox prayers at Robinson's Arch near the Western Wall, a decision backed up by the Supreme Court.