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Party Chairman Yakov Litzman Photo: Yaron Brener
Party Chairman Yakov Litzman Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

United Torah Judaism

Ynetnews
Published: 02.04.08, 07:52 / Israel News

Chairman: Yakov Litzman

 

An ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi party that resulted from a merger between the hassidic, non-Zionist Agudath Israel and the Degel HaTorah faction.

 

Degel HaTorah, a Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox party, was formed on the eve of the 12th Knesset elections. The list won two seats and joined the government. In the following elections Degel HaTorah ran in the framework of United Torah Judaism. Ahead of the elections for the 14th and 15th Knesset, the joint faction split so that each party can enjoy separate campaign financing.

 

The two parties united in 1992 ahead of the elections and ever since then have been running for office in the framework of the joint list. In light of representation considerations for different leading rabbis, party figures tend to rotate.

 

Both parties have their own spiritual leadership: Degel HaTorah adheres to Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, while Agudath Israel obeys Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, Rebbe of Gerrer. Both parties have a higher rabbinical council (Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah), but the two councils rarely confer.

 

The two factions have made sure not to receive ministerial appointments in Zionistic governments, but rather, only deputy ministers. The party has always made sure to demand that it head the Knesset's Finance Committee in order to exercise control over the State budget.

 

Main platform:

  • The party believes that the Jewish faith is the cohesive factor of the people in Israel; the education system in Israel must teach the Jewish faith, its principles and doctrines; the party will form, maintain and invest in yeshivas, seminaries and religious schools; and will ensure the government's support and funding for these establishments.

 

  • Israel is the Jewish people's state by divine right; recognizing the need for regional peace, the party will support any effort to achieve such peace. The party will act to reduce taxation; preserve the environment and encourage various financial investments; as well as the participation in the workforce and national financial growth; reduce inflation and increase families' social rights.

 

  • United Torah Judaism believes in the sanctity of Shabbat and will fight against the deterioration of the secular-religious statue-quo, and will continue to demand the Shabbat be enforced by objecting to any labor or commerce on Shabbat or Jewish holy days. The party will support the implementation of a five-day workweek as part of its efforts to protect the sanctity of Shabbat.

 

  • The party negates the existence of both the Conservative and Reform Movements, believing they contribute to the spiritual destruction of the Jewish people by assisting their assimilation.

 

  • United Torah Judaism will work to rehabilitate the rabbinical courts' authority in all matters pertaining to family law; and will fight any civil marriage initiative. The party will fight secular coercion, which is eating away at Israeli Jewish character; and will fight against the performance of autopsies or organ transplants without rabbinical authorization.

 

  • The parties will fight the drafting of women to military or national service of any kind, both in the religious and the secular sectors. The parties believe there is no real need to draft women into military service.

 

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