(PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
Efforts continue to create a united bloc that would include Shas, Yahadut Hatorah, Agudas Yisrael, Bnei Torah and Yachad, which would result in an unprecedented chareidi power base. Many if not most opine such a union will not occur, since the players will never agree to concede to one another as each player maneuvers to secure for his respective position of power and influence.
While the chareidi union has not yet been established and efforts are only in the preliminary stages, the Smith Institute survey commissioned by parties that would make up the chareidi bloc examined the results of the mandates in the case of such a reality. This is an internal survey to assist the chareidi parties to decide if such a move is wise, and if so, what is the likely outcome. BeChadrei Chareidim has obtained the results of the survey, which shows the power of the chareidi factions will increase should they run as a single party.
The survey, conducted by the Smith Institute for Research headed by Prof. Rafi Smith, examined the potential of chareidi street support for a united chareidi party. The biggest winner of the poll will be Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who will head the second largest party in the Knesset and in the coalition.
The survey examined three possibilities. A separate run by Shas and Yahadut Hatorah, a separate run with a split between Degel Hatorah and Agudas Yisrael, and the possibility of uniting all the parties into one list.
The first option in the survey: Shas is not harmed at all as it retains the seven mandates it currently has with the support of 21% of the chareidi public (excluding the traditional-religious public).
A United Yahadut Hatorah (Agudas Yisrael and Degel Hatorah) earns seven seats with 51% of the chareidi vote, also maintaining its strength, while Eli Yishai’s Yachad party does not make the minimum threshold, with only 3% of the chareidi public voting for him.
The second option in the survey: Splitting Yahadut Hatorah – Degel Hatorah headed by MK Moshe Gafni wins four to five seats with 30 percent, while Agudas Yisrael headed by MK Yaakov Litzman, wins three to four seats and does not meet the minimum threshold to enter Knesset, with a 23% support rate.
According to this scenario, oddly enough Shas voters go to the Ashkenazi factions – 11% to Degel Hatorah and 4% to Agudas Yisrael.
In the case of chareidi unity on one list, the chareidi public in the Knesset will rise by two Knesset seats before the election campaign when Deri will head it, and become the strongest figure in the political system, with the second largest faction in the Knesset.
The survey was conducted as a telephone survey conducted on January 8, 2010 among 420 people as a representative sample of the chareidi population in Israel, nationwide.
Distribution of interviewees according to the streams: Litvish 33%; Chassidim 30%; Sephardi 25%; Peleg Yerushalmi 3%; Chardal (Chareidi Dati Leumi) 5%, and other 4%.
To date, Shas has not only failed to express enthusiasm over the unity plan, HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, head of the Shas Moetzas Chachmei HaTorah, has spoken out against it, fearing all the years of work by HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L to return the Sephardi identity would be lost in such a coalition with the Ashkenazi chareidim.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)