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MK Moshe Gafni Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Moshe Gafni Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

 

United Torah Judaism woos Arab voters

Ultra-orthodox party launches campaign aimed at swaying Arab votes in its direction; bases efforts on promise to protect sector's interests against right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu's 'racist' platform

Ronen Medzini
Published: 02.09.09, 13:21 / Israel News

With Election Day less than 24 hours away, it seems the parties are pulling out all the stops in order to increase their potential Knesset mandates.

 

Ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party activists, for example, have been distributing flyers in Arab neighborhoods and communities, using the slogan "Haredim for equality."

 

The party stated it would protect the Arab sector's interests againt Yisrael Beiteinu's manifest. Some of the party's flyers label rival party leader Avigdor Lieberman a racist, and state that "Arabs and haredim fight racism – vote United Torah Judaism."  


The flyer distributed in Arab communities

 

UTJ is considered a sectorial party, representing predominantly the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community. Inner squabbles, however, have diminished the party's influence and it seems it is trying to make up for support lost by appealing to the Arab sector.

 

The party's "anti- Lieberman" campaign aligns with another ultra-orthodox party – Shas.

 

United Torah Judaism's elections headquarters said that "the party is trying to recruit as many votes as possible. We appeal to the Arab voters who care about matters of chastity and family honor."

 

Knesset Member Moshe Gafni added that "we are against racism and for the Torah, and the Torah clearly says 'Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt,'" (Exodus 23:9).

 

Lieberman, said Gafni, has no respect for the principles of democracy. "If you govern over a country that has a non-Jewish minority living in it, you have to look out for that minority's rights, unless you know for sure that minority will harm you. The Torah commands it. I don’t think Lieberman makes that distinction, but United Torah Judaism does." 

 

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