Gafne Warns of Consequences of Continued Infighting in Agudah

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gafni.jpgVeteran Agudath Yisrael MK Mosher Gafne, of the Degel HaTorah faction, warns of the dire consequences that will result if unity is not achieved inside the party.

In an interview with Chadrei Chadarim, he begins by pointing out that the general election campaign for the 18th Knesset is underway, and already, Tzipi Livni has released statements attacking the chareidi public.

CC:

Why must each campaign be based on hate for chareidim?

GAFNE:

I do not think it is based on chareidi hate, but there are other factors as well, including the fact she is still angry that she failed to build a coalition. It is hypocrisy. First she promises us a great deal and then offers nothing, then painting us as extortionists. Another reason prompting her attack is her sharp drop in the polls and her advisors pushed her to lash out at the chareidim to win the election. In addition, she is aware that Shas will go with Bibi, but not with her.

Whatever the case, the anti-chareidi issue will not dominate the election but rather security and economic concerns.

CC:

With whom will UTJ align itself following the election?

GAFNE:

We will discuss the issue based on the current realities. We do not decide in advance. At the end of the day, there is no major difference between Tzipi and Bibi. The damage that Bibi did to us as finance minister is unforgivable. Therefore, we do not express our opinion ahead of the election. We will ultimately team up with the candidate who supports the Torah world and despite her remarks at present, I do not believe that Livni will have predefined positions but will do what is politically advantageous at the time.

CC:

Of late, we have seen physical and verbal violence in our camp. What is the solution?

GAFNE:

To my joy, we are not apart of it but I do hope that Agudah will find a solution soon. After all, we are running together and if there is a faction not voting for us, we all lose. I spoke with both Porush and Litzman and told them the very same thing. The situation is absurd. The Torah world today is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The economic crisis impacts all of us and we are busy with internal fighting. It is unbelievable.

CC:

If Agudah does not work it out would you consider running independently, without Agudah?

GAFNE:

If this is the case, we have a big problem. We are not considering running alone at present but if Agudah does not work it out, we have a big problem.

CC:

There is talk of reorganizing the lineup towards ‘cleansing the poison’. Have you heard anything along these lines?

GAFNE:

They have not discussed such an idea with me but it does not seem realistic. Only the Gedolei HaDor make such decisions, who will be in Knesset. I do not think such a move is necessary. Whoever must leave should leave. We do not engage in such acts, such as shuffling the lists, which may present well to the public. We are busy working to save the Torah world.

CC:

Degel was founded on the shadow of complaints there are those who never leave the Knesset. Aren’t you in fact doing the same thing?

GAFNE:

I never made such claims and that is not the case. We had problems with the method by which funds were distributed to Anash and today, things are different. The system has changed [for the better]. Today funds are distributed to the chareidi population without regard to sectors. To change us, why? Rav Shach always said why replace a person with experience.

CC:

It has been 20 years since Degel was founded. Any words in summary at this time?

GAFNE:

A summation is done at the end. We are in the midst of the process. We are becoming stronger and our ideology is gaining momentum in a growing number of communities. This is not the time for summations – we save this for the end.

CC:

There are those who feel chareidi parties are the cause of much hate and disdain, feeling it may be beneficial to join secular parties with the understanding the religious status quo would remain ‘as is’. How do you view this issue?

GAFNE:

One making such claims does not understand what he is talking about and is totally unaware of the day-to-day battles that we wage. There are major problems that an outsider is not capable of understanding — issues of ideology and funding that a non-frum person is incapable of understanding. Eliminate chareidi parties. Those who say this haven’t the slightest idea what they are talking about.

CC:

Of late, a new entity is forming, an entity with a ‘good name’ composed of people who are from our camp, from Degel. What is your feeling on this?

GAFNE:

In Betar, they still have not paid attention to them. They have not noticed this important phenomenon. In the election we took notice and despite efforts to launch a nationwide party, we prevented this from becoming reality. We also hoped to halt it in Bet Shemesh, but this did not occur. To the heart of the matter, I feel we must find a solution. I personally spend a considerable amount of time on seeking a solution for these people. But they too must understand that a person who lives a certain lifestyle must send his child to an appropriate framework. Therefore, there are different talmidei torah and each person must send children to the appropriate institution.

These people are ‘us’ and we feel their pain. There are a number of people who are ideologically motivated, acting on the party that was, now paying the price for not adhering to the words of Gedolei Yisrael. They have no place in Degel HaTorah. These people are unwelcome.  I think that at the end, they also ran independently in Bet Shemesh due to their ideological leanings, not because of a crisis pertaining to mosdos limud (schools).

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


8 COMMENTS

  1. Is ECONOMICS the only problem that UTJ concerns itself with? So why not unite with SHAS who is concentrating on finances solely also…….

  2. #2: Because the Ashkenazi UTJ would never lower itself to cooperating with a Sephardi party which is larger than UTJ itself. They would be subject to Rav Ovadia Yosef’s decisions also, and they would never allow that.

    The ultimate solution is *not* to vote at all, as I do. Saves time on election day also. I spend that time learning Torah instead of standing at an election booth voting a frum Yid into a beis avodah zarah.

  3. #3 Daniel.

    Is that what your doing now. Learning Torah while blogging on the “holy” internet.

    If you are on it, it must be holy.

    I bet you take a sefer to a wedding to learn.

  4. if the gedolin where listened to instead of being manipulated by these so called “chariedi” politicians meir porush would not have been the candidate for mayor. just for starters….
    which godol told him “you are our first choice for mayor, go win” ?

  5. #3 daniel b.
    with respect- i read ur post carefully & u seem to be confusing 2 [or more] issues.

    why do u not vote? bec.

    1- u have bad feelings about how thw ashknazy utj relates to sfardi shas? [to me- even if ur feelings are based in reality, it doesnt seem to me the way to make such a decision, wich gedolei torah have paskened otherwise,saying its a chiuv to vote!!]

    2- has ur rav paskened for u that its bittul torah to vote?
    or is it just an added remark showing that u feel that its a better to learn torah on voting day, than to listen to the gedolim. [unless u follow the “satmar” shita tat its assur to vote, & if so even if u dont learn any torah u still shouldnt vote!
    3-are u saying its assur to be a mk or to vote a yid into the knesset [in ur words “beis a.zara”] like the satmar shita.?

    i also find it hard to undrstand how ur not voting is the “ultimare solution”.

  6. VOTING is a great priviledge given to residents of free countries, but voting does not ensure that your candidate will win or that your agenda will be supreme. Be a role model, follow the gedolim and go out there and have fun on “Yom HaBechirot” in Israel.