Poll: Non-hassidic Ashkenazi haredim outnumber hassidic community

For the last two decades it has been claimed by the hassidic sector that the ratio was 60:40 in its favor and this claim has underpinned the division of the political spoils in Knesset.

August 23, 2015 17:41
2 minute read.
Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.

Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


A poll surveying the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community has exposed a change in the demographics of the sector, a revelation that could have important political ramifications.

According to the poll, which was conducted for the B’hadrei Haredim haredi (ultra-Orthodox) news website by strategist Nati Gamliel over the past two months and which was published on Sunday, 54.4 percent of the Ashkenazi haredi community in Israel is non-hassidic while 45.6 percent is hassidic.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The hassidic sector has claimed over the last two decades that the ratio of hassidic versus non-hassidic Jews within the Israeli Ashkenazi haredi sector is 60:40 in its favor. This claim has underpinned the division of the political spoils within the United Torah Judaism party in the Knesset, which represents the Ashkenazi haredi community.

UTJ is comprised of two components: Degel Hatorah representing the non-hassidic or “Lithuanian” community, and Agudat Yisrael, which represents the hassidic community.

Since 1992, the two parties have run together under the joint banner of UTJ but the electoral list has not been divided equally. This was due to the assumption that hassidic Jews represented the dominant faction among Ashkenazi haredim in Israel.

In this year’s general election, the top six positions on UTJ’s list once again included four candidates from the hassidic community and only two from the non-hassidic community. Since the party took six seats, there is now an imbalance in the representation of the two communities, with four MKs for Agudat Yisrael and just two for Degel Hatorah.

This disparity in political representation may again be called into question if the poll findings can be verified. Degel Hatorah has claimed for years that it now represents the larger portion of the Ashkenazi haredi sector, while Agudat Yisrael has internally acknowledged that the split between the two groups is at least 50-50.


Since the March election, UTJ has been beset by a persistent undercurrent of instability between Degel and Agudah due to the imbalance in the distribution of MKs between the two parties.

The fact that Degel had enjoyed a third MK in the 19th Knesset added to the internal grappling between the two party factions.

The antagonism has extended to disputes over appointments to Knesset committees, with party insiders reportedly worried the wrangling could get worse rather than better.

Because of the loss of its seventh seat, filled by former MK Yaakov Asher of Degel, UTJ campaigned for the adoption of the so-called Norwegian Law that was approved at the end of the Knesset’s summer session. The law will allow ministers or deputy ministers to resign from their party in order to allow the next person on the party’s electoral list to enter the Knesset.

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush of Agudat Yisrael is the only possible candidate to resign in favor of Asher, but despite the fact that the law was passed three weeks ago, a decision for Porush to step down has yet been made.

This is attributable in large part to the internal disagreement within the party.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

 A view of Jerusalem's Old City walls near Jaffa Gate, with a tour bus in the center, August 9 2018
November 21, 2018
‘Let’s do business,’ tourism minister tells global hoteliers