Swedish Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser (left) and Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (second left) at the Swedish National Day reception..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following months of severe tensions within United Torah Judaism, Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush will finally step down as an MK to allow Yaakov Asher, a former MK to once again take up his seat in the legislature.
The UTJ Knesset faction is comprised of Agudat Yisrael, representing the hassidic Ashkenazi haredi community, and Degel Hatorah representing the non-hassidic “Lithuanian” Ashkenazi community.
Agudah currently has four MKs while Degel has just two.
The so-called “Norwegian Law” passed in July last year was supposed to see Porush swiftly resign as an MK, while retaining his deputy-ministerial role, to allow Asher to regain his seat. For many months after the law was passed however, Agudah refused to sanction the process and, according to Degel, made numerous demands of Degel in return for Porush stepping down.
The feud over Knesset seats led to bitter recriminations within UTJ, with Degel and Agudah warring over the rights to various other state positions, such as committee memberships, and publicly berating their opponents.
Late Saturday night, Porush’s office said that the deputy-minister met several times in recent week with David Shapira, grandson and senior adviser to the leader of the non-hassidic Ashkenazi haredi community Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, in order to formulate an agreement.
The deal between the two is based on an agreement between Degel Hatorah and Shlomei Emunim, the grouping of small hassidic groups represented in Knesset by Porush, regarding various positions within the Independent Education haredi schools network.
“They discussed the heightened tensions which have taken hold of late, and made efforts to reach agreements on different issues currently on the agenda of the haredi public, in order to ease the strained relations,” said Porush’s office.
Porush will submit his resignation today (Sunday) allowing Asher to take up the vacant seat.