The religious and ultra-Orthodox parties won 23 Knesset seats in this week's elections; will they form a united front that will translate their political power into significant influence on the next government?
The Sanhedrin rabbis have issued a letter following the elections, calling on all parties that represent "God fearing voters" – Shas, United Torah Judaism, National Union and Habayit Hayehudi – to be generous and flexible towards one another, "so that they could unite for the sake of their common goals."
The new Sanhedrin is a body founded by rabbis in 2004 that aims to eventually serve as a supreme court and an upper house of the Knesset. However, it is considered controversial and has never been granted legitimacy by the State.
In their letter, the rabbis called on the religious parties to put Jewish education, Jewish law, love of Israel and preserving the sanctity of the camp and the army at the top of their priorities.
The Sanhedrin recommended that the parties demand to get the education, justice and interior portfolios, which they consider most influential, and urged them to create public debate regarding the issue of basic laws.
They then go on to stipulate what should be done in the field of Torah based legislation: "Basic Law: The Torah, which states that any legislation or ruling that goes against the Torah is null and void; making the Chief Rabbinate independent from politics and politicians and turning it into a supreme court for the entire Jewish people; a law of return to the lands – stating that land under Jewish sovereignty within the borders of the Land of Israel is a part of the State of Israel."
The rabbis also suggested amendments to Basic Law: The Judiciary, revising the authorities of the attorney general, the High Court of Justice and the procedures of appointing judges.