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Porush Fires Back at Litzman Regarding Jerusalem Mayoral Race

porushYahadut Hatorah MK Yaakov Litzman made his position quite clear following the Jerusalem elections, by explaining he never made a deal to back Moshe Leon in the mayoral race. Litzman turned the blame at Avigdor Lieberman, Shas, Degel Hatorah and his colleague in Agudas Yisrael, his political nemesis, Meir Porush. The animosity between the two dates back to the last municipal elections when Litzman’s unwillingness to rally Gerre Chassidus’ support for Porush’s mayoral bid cost him the elections.

Using his HaMevaser newspaper as the forum to vent, Porush in the Thursday 11 Kislev 5774 edition takes a swing at Litzman.

Porush explains that after two weeks of allegations against him and others, he has decided to speak out to set the record straight. Porush adds that it is clear that events surrounding the election do not depict the chareidi tzibur in a good light but he is compelled to set the record straight.

Porush explains that in line with the agreement between Agudas Yisrael and Degel Hatorah, Degel was to announce the name of the chareidi candidate in the mayoral race, in line with the internal rotation agreement. He adds that he has been active in his role as head of Agudas Yisrael, maintaining a dialogue with Degel in the hope of having a suitable candidate ready for the election to safeguard the needs of the chareidi tzibur in the city.

“On Wednesday, 27 Sivan 5773, “H”, I met with Moshe Leon and Moshe Gafne.” He explains this was the meeting Litzman reported on, the one Litzman feels the candidacy was closed. However Porush reports that Leon spoke of his hashkafa, especially regarding the kedusha of the Old City and how he views himself as a candidate in the mayoral race.

“It was clear to all that no candidate could be backed without the approval of gedolei yisrael. Leon presented himself and his suitability and I told him his candidacy would be presented to gedolei yisrael shlita and if they approve, an agreement can be written. I did my best to make certain that gabbaim of the various gedolei yisrael were informed of the details of the meeting” Porush added, referring to rabbonim who sit on Agudas Yisrael’s Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah.

Porush explains that because he made absolutely certain that all the admorim and rabbonim were informed of the details of the meeting, Litzman learned of the details as well. “Two hours after the meeting I personally sat down with Litzman in his Knesset office, briefing him on that meeting.”

Porush explains how he detailed that Leon was able to attract voters from different walks of life and had a good chance of winning in the race.

“On Wednesday, 25 Tammuz I convened the Agudas Yisrael secretariat in Yerushalayim and the agenda included discussing preparations for the Jerusalem election, which is reflected in the minutes of that meeting. I informed participants in the meeting that Leon wanted to run for mayor but at present, a deal has not yet been reached with him. Close to Tu B’Av 5773 Leon requested that I inform the rabbonim that he plans a press conference to announce his candidacy, seeking their support. When I told Litzman of the upcoming press conference I did not hear any complaints. At this point, there still wasn’t an agreement with Leon ensuring him of Agudas Yisrael’s backing for one simple reason, a decision hadn’t yet been made.”

Porush stresses than any statement to the contrary, that a deal was made during the 27 Sivan meeting or at any time following does not reflect reality. “During that time period a significant number of members of the Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisrael spoke with me regarding his candidacy and that he is shomer Torah U’mitzvos.

“Another request from Leon to meet was received on 11 Tishrei and once again, Litzman was informed, keeping him in the loop. Not a single word of objection was uttered by him regarding Leon’s candidacy. There was not a single complaint about making a deal with Moshe Gafne behind his back. Again, on that same day, 11 Tishrei, two days before the city council list had to be submitted, Agudas Yisrael’s secretariat convened in Yerushalayim.”

Porush explains as director of Agudah he used his position to push in this direction, working during chol hamoed Sukkos and after yomtov. He explains a response never came and now, after the elections, he is accused of making deals behind someone’s back by endorsing Leon’s candidacy.

Porush states the minutes of the meetings are available to verify his version and he rejects any and all accusations that he acted behind Litzman’s back at any time before the Jerusalem election.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

2 Responses

  1. Meir Porush is unfortunately not the man his father was and will probably never be since his father was very close to the gedolim and listened carefully to them.

    Porush does his own wheeling and dealing and cares little about the fall out. We would be better with him selling falafels in Machane Yehuda.

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