The “Yated” and “HaPeles” litvish factions do not appear to be heading to sholom any time soon and the upcoming general elections may result in the establishment of a new party, to compete with Degel HaTorah, highlighting the lack of achdus between the factions. The motzei shabbos Asifa in Bnei Brak attended by thousands was a showing of strength for the break-away faction, which now feels it must be fairly represented in Degel or it will be compelled to run independently.
According to a Kikar Shabbat report quoting a “senior Degel official” anonymously, the decision not to include Menachem Carmel on the Degel HaTorah roster for the 11 Shevat 5773 election may have led to the efforts to establish a new party. This would have a profound negative impact on the chareidi representation in Knesset for any split would result in less mandates. This is the reason that Degel and Agudas Yisrael run under a united “Yahadut HaTorah” list, for history has proven if they run independently, they will lose at least one seat between them.
According to the Kikar report, the move to launch a new party enjoys the support of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Auerbach Shlita. An urgent asifa was held earlier in the week, following which the decision was made to run under a new party rather than permitting Degel HaTorah and its leaders to continue being the voice of the litvish tzibur.
After leaders met in the HaPeles office they traveled to the home of Rav Auerbach in Yerushalayim’s Shaare Chessed neighborhood to confer with him. They reportedly explained that while they are working towards “sholom and achdus” their initiative is not being reciprocated and as such, they must be prepared to act. “Even if the new party does not earn the minimum to pass the threshold to enter Knesset, we will have made our point – that they cannot continue to ignore us”, they reportedly told Rav Auerbach.
This coming Sunday, 5 Cheshvan 5773 is the deadline for submitting lists for the election and therefore, they are compelled to act now in order obtain sufficient signatures in time to meet the deadline.
Kikar adds that after checking with another Degel official, it is clear that Carmel will not be included in the party’s list, adding “We in Degel do not need an Amsellem 2”, referring to the rogue former Shas MK Rav Chaim Amsellem, who broke away from Shas to launch his own party.
The source added “At the end of the day, the person who will be selected will be one with a track record of accomplishments, one who is embraced by the tzibur, such as Bnei Brak Mayor Rav Yaakov Asher, Rav Sorotzkin, or the former head of the Rechasim Council Rav Yitzchak Reich.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)