י"ג אייר התשפ"ד
21.05.2024

Controversy Forever: The 'historic union' that could divide the Orthodox Judaism • Special Column

Do you think the agreement between Ger and Hgr"sh Auerbach calmed the controversy? • Wrong: Intervention of the central sector in Degel HaTorah, could open a Pandora's Box which will crush the ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Controversy Forever: The 'historic union' that could divide the Orthodox Judaism • Special Column


What's better than joining forces, than downloading from the shelf hopeless parties who have no chance of skipping the threshold hurdle?


If only Shas could turn the clock back, it would probably leave MK Chaim Amsalem amongst its ranks until the date of submission of lists, just to prevent him from trickling out votes.


If they could, they would resolve the conflict with Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, providing that he doesn't threaten its number of seats.


But this is not always possible - and when it isn't, you can go out to battle, fighting for every vote, 'take' to heart, hospitalized for exhausted, and wait for the moment of truth to know: Were we defeated or did we survive. The victory - it seems that people at Shas no longer talk about today.

If at the beginning of the campaign Shas dreamed that the returning of Aryeh home will leap them to 17 seats, dreams of the past, today they will dance with joy on the 12th, even on the 11th they will celebrate. Concerns are both from falling and crashing, even though no one dares to say so. But when Aryeh Deri is talking about the option of the municipality of Jerusalem, it is a good reason for concern.


In case of victory, it becomes quite clear that Deri will become the ultimate leader of the movement. In case of failure, a battle will unfold and it is difficult to predict the outcome in advance.


But the troubles of Shas are dwarfed by those of her little sister – Yahadut Hatorah. Whether during the campaign (until last night) they were clouded by little troubles, yesterday they turned into significant problems, threatening to crush the party and tear it apart. The results will be seen, as it seems, in the campaign which will be initiated this year for the local authorities. Forget everything you knew about the conflicts and struggles, elections of תשמ"ט will be minor to the elections which will be held in less than a year.

Update, no coordination
Yahadut Hatorah began their current campaign while screeching slightly. Each of the sectors had sub-sectors which threatened the unity, but everyone tried to ignore the small parties, rolled up their sleeves and tried to take care of the great mass of votes.


Vizhnitz had trouble from the Rebbe Harm"m of Vizhnitz: Shlomei Emunim was creaking in the form of small chassiduses who were instructed not to vote at all or vote for Shas (sub - sectors Breslev, Biala Ramat Aaron, Slonim, etc.) At the main sector there was still an opposition silence, but everyone knows that one day it will break out and turn into a real world war; Degel Hatorah had a huge headache from the founders of Hapeles who waved the unrealistic shelf party 'Netzach'.

But until last night, each side could close their eyes to the problems of the other side, and squint just to the troubles at home. All sides understood that intervention in the neighbor's lawn will open a Pandora's Box that no one wants.


That’s how Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, was heard declaring over the media over and over again that he does not interfere in the internal affairs of Degel HaTorah, Meir Porush also declared during an interview with B'Chadrei Charedim that he does not wish to address the question concerning the newspaper Yated Ne'eman and its affiliates, not to mention the Vizhnitz Rebbe who gave the royal treatment to Hgray"l Steinman and came to visit him to coordinate his positions on recruitment, as did the Belzer Rebbe, that messages were moved back and forth between 5 Chazon Ish Street and Kiryat Belze, with full coordination and a desire for peace and quiet, even at the price of concessions.

No one believes that it was easy. In the background were pretty deserted headquarters, the freeze was felt, the media covered it prominently. Individuals who worked were given an unemployed stage (reviewed here, in various coverage's), with the understanding that "if there is already someone doing something, you have to praise him." Somehow advertising and public relations set off the railroads, which stumbled and stirred intrigue - and it seemed that Yahadut Hatorah will come out alive and well into Election Day. Everyone knew that at the margins there will be sub - groups which will not fall into line, but the main factions moved forward for the sacred cause.


Then came last night and shattered the illusion of unity.

Apparently a brilliant trick. Why not unite? If you can quote a promise to add Netzach to Yahadut Hatorah, why not do it?


On the surface all that is done is only providing assurance by the central faction of Agudath Yisrael to cooperate. For the first time in public in the history of the main faction, the Rebbe of Ger and Hgr"sh Auerbach's met at his home last week in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Jerusalem, with the Rebbe's promise to update the Rosh Yeshiva of Maalot on the terms of subject of recruitment. Hgr"sh first asked for Litzman's coordination, not just an update. Litzman on his part, a devoted follower of his Rebbe, explained that it is not possible. The final summary was on the update.

What's wrong with that? The main faction ask - and rightly so. Even so, after all the government or coalition development, as well as holiday eves, Litzman goes out on a journey – of big updates. So he will add one more Rav to the list. No big deal. Especially if it will add ten thousand more votes to Yahadut Hatorah (actually, it is not sure that the last move is acceptable to all elements at Netzach, and who will determine who voted what at the polls).

The real problem lies in what has not been said, about what happened behind the scenes. Here, for example, news of the visit was published in two papers: one major daily newspaper ultra-orthodox Judaism - 'Hamodia' belonging to the main faction, the other, a newspaper established in opposition to the Torah Sages of Degel HaTorah, headed by Hgray"l Steinman and Hgr"ch Kanievsky. Hamodia actually gives a kind of legitimacy to the little Hapeles, as in "you're kosher". In other words, the central party has become 'father' to Netzach, with all that entails. And do not be surprised if this will be reflected in advertisements in Hapeles, financed by entities controlled by the main faction.

Towards tearing and splitting
If in recent day's senior sources of the central faction tried to say that, "the process was carried out after full coordination with Hgray"l Steinman," it soon became clear to me that this is not true.


The only adjustments were made between MK Moshe Gafni and Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman. The big question is: Did Gafni receives the approval of his mentor and teacher, the mentor of the way of Degel HaTorah, for his steps? To this questions senior officials at Chazon Ish 5 answer, "No and no!"

Option A: The move was matched, despite the official repudiation, and is part of a maneuver ladder – give Netzach the ladder to get down from the tree, after the election we will shake them elegantly. I mean, after local elections, of course.


Option B: The move is not compatible, and is part of various measures made by Gafni recently, and which aroused the anger at 5 Chazon Ish. So yes, they are not for sure able to work against him. On the other hand, who knows if it will be decided that Yaakov Asher is the one who understands economics, who will win on a silver platter the Finance Committee. Not that it's going to happen. However, this possibility always exists.

This will also happen for various local authorities. The central faction and Netzach are one? Nice and good. Well, we in Degel are free of making agreements and opening a new agreement with Belze, Vizhnitz and Shlomei Emunim. We will not go through the full map of the country and towns, but to such a decision there may be several implications on a number of points on the map.


In general, once all of the factions at Yahadut Hatorah can take credit for internal oppositions, it opens a Pandora's Box that no one knows the end.

Tomorrow it will be Degel Hatorah, who will enter an opposition – in the central faction - and so on. Future conspiracy: separate running of the two sectors: Yahadut Hatorah A and Yahadut Hatorah B, whilst each of the factions will try to take credit for as many sub – streams as possible.


The result: a formal dispute and tear in the haredi – Ashkenazi world.
The new friends of Chabad
An essential question rises at the margins to these events: We all remember the תשמ"ט elections and war the central factions of Agudath Yisrael for Chabad Hasidism. Why did they boycott a sacred committee? Cried posters from the billboards.


It is no secret that in recent years it was Yated Ne'eman who returned and boycotted the holy community.


Here's an example from an article published several years ago (15th Tevet תשס"ט) by author Avraham Yeshaya Bergman – following the massacre at the Chabad House in Mumbai. "Each Jew whose blood was spilled is dear to us with no difference and method," he wrote, but immediately added that the emissaries are "captured babies" ... Chabad chassidim who their fathers acts are in their hands."

He wrote about Chabad (Note that the emissaries were not members of the messianic faction of Chabad): "the known messianic sect who deviated from the path of Torah ... consider themselves innocent and are far from it, who perform internal Torah study and do not understand it all and study revealed ephemeral…"


The hateful words, evil and wickedness did not bring satisfaction to his Lithuanian mind which is sizzling hot and gushing with jealousy, and he continues: "It is our duty to distinguish between blue and rotten and not help them in their propaganda, for all their desire and purpose is to mingle in Israel and especially in our time when everything is for political gain."

Since then, a revolution took place in Yated Ne'eman. A chief editor who under his editing was produced such articles was fired, and for that reason war opened against Hgray"l Steinman, that he is seemingly not firm enough on his view.


Will the last move between Ger and Hgr"sh Auerbach drive away Chabad who thought - and this time more than ever - to vote for Yahadut Hatorah? Or just enter them into it, to encourage those who did not give his hand for persecution and criticizing them black on white in the newspaper? - Time will tell. My feeling is that if the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l was still alive, he would call out to support Degel HaTorah 'inside' Yahadut Hatorah, maybe as an opposite trick to Litzman's trick.

Then the Hapeles newspaper would publish articles about "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are". The big question is what would have the Hamodia written?"




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