Ichud HaLeumi, the right-wing party conglomerate of 4 smaller parties united under the leadership of Ketzaleh, Yaakov Katz, the founder of Arutz Sheva, Keren Moreshet, famous for his heroic past and his building of Israel religiously and spiritually, has started to attract voters from the chareidi and English speaking camps.
The party differentiates itself from the other party drawing a large amount of voters from the religious Zionist camp in that they not only have rabbinical support but rather Rabbinical guides who take part in major decisions. They not only have the support of hundreds of rabbanim from the religious Zionist camp, but have a governing rabbinical body headed by the Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Shlita, and other Sephardi and Ashkenazi talmidei chachamim of note. Even their non-religious candidates, all of whom are shomer Shabbos and kashrus, agree to abide by the rabbinical authority’s decisions.
This Rabbinical leadership coupled with a strong stance on religious and educational issues, combined with their uncompromising stance on issues related to Eretz Yisrael has given them a respectable support base among the chareidi community. Numerous Chabad rabbanim have already expressed their support and have brought in supporters from other chassidishe and even litvish circles who want a party committed to Torah, but that they know will not compromise on inyanei Eretz Yisrael, something they feel is also Torah ordained.
Though Shas is hoping to garner the votes of those unhappy with Yahadut HaTorah, there is certainly a chance that not only will the Ichud HaLeumi gain voters from UTJ, but also from former Shas supporters who have grown disenchanted from Shas’ policies which resulted in the presidency of Shimon Peres, and continued missiles and rockets on the south amidst talks with the PA (Palestinian Authority) leadership on giving away the Golan, parts of Yerushalayim and Yehuda and Shomron.
The party has also gained support from the English speaking oleh world. Uri Bank, candidate number 5 on their list, hails originally from America and is committed to bringing major reforms to western olim. Having made aliyah with his family at age 12 and subsequently staying after the hardships of aliyah brought his family back to America 5 years later, he knows the difficulties of aliyah first hand and has plans to change it. A group of English speaking olim has even started an email campaign pushing for voting for Ichud HaLeumi and bringing a frum Anglo oleh into the Knesset, to give the English speaking community in Eretz Yisrael a voice.
The track record of Yahadut HaTorah and Shas regarding inyanei Eretz Yisrael, particularly Oslo, Chevron, the Disengagement Plan, and other painful modern historic realities, are pushing people to take a serious look at Ketzaleh and his team, which promises to remain faithful to Am Yisrael, Torat Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)