A color-print pamphlet distributed on the eve of elections by the Edah Haredit to convince ultra-Orthodox residents not to vote accuses the pre-state Zionist leadership of purposely allowing haredi Jews to be massacred by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
United Torah Judaism chairman Ya'acov Litzman admitted that the anti-vote campaign led by the Edah Haredit - a group representing haredim who resist any connection with the Zionist state - hurt his party.
According to the pamphlet, written by Yoel Shwartz, an American Edah Haredit activist, the Zionists maliciously refrained from using money and other resources at their disposal to save Jews in order to compound the atrocities of the Holocaust and to convince the world of the need for a Jewish state.
"The Zionists had a saying that 'Only with blood shall we redeem our land,'" said Shmuel Popenheim, editor-in-chief of Ha'edah, Edah Haredit's weekly mouthpiece. "What they meant was that the blood of those massacred in the the Shoah would get them a state."
The Edah Haredit printed the 16-page pamphlets and distributed 250,000 copies in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Netanya, Rehovot, Betar Ilit, Beit Shemesh and other cities with large haredi neighborhoods.
The pamphlet, written in colloquial Hebrew, is a dialogue between a grandfather and his young grandson. The old man uses the alleged despicable behavior of the Zionists during the Holocaust to prove that any cooperation with them is strictly prohibited.
In the days leading up to the elections the Edah Haredit campaigned aggressively against voting. Nevertheless, UTJ, which is made up of two political parties, the larger Hassidic Agudat Yisrael headed by Litzman and the Lithuanian Degel Hatorah, managed to increase its mandates from five to six.
Litzman said he was pleased with the results but estimated that UTJ could have done better if not for the Edah Haredit. "The fact that there were people actively fighting to prevent our constituents from voting definitely hurt us. But I don't know how much."
Popenheim, a resident of Beit Shemesh, said that in his city the Edah Haredit was particularly successful.
"Even though about 1,700 new families moved there since the last elections, UTJ grew by only about 120 votes compared to the previous elections," he said.