Support for Leon in Exchange for the Draft Law


Degel HaTorah and Agudas Yisroel are running on two separate lists in the Yerushalayim mayoral elections, in a break from their practice in previous years.

Degel HaTorah officials explain that the internal division of power between the two parties has not been equitable and that the Litvishe community deserves a larger representation in the municipality. Agudas Yisroel claims that they agreed to an even split, but the members of Degel wanted more.

Degel HaTorah has confirmed that the chassidishe party made that offer, but explained that they could not accept the stipulation that went along with it – that they should not support Moshe Leon as a candidate for the office of mayor.

Agudas Yisroel has its own mayoral candidate, Yossi Deitsch, but Degel HaTorah could not agree to support him, since Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Gershon Edelstein ruled that the party should support Leon. Rav Shalom Cohen, nosi of the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah of Shas, issued the same ruling for his followers. Although the parties tried to reconcile their differences until the last minute, the end result was that Agudas Yisroel and Degel HaTorah registered on separate lists for the elections in Yerushalayim, with the Shas party forming a third chareidi list.

The politicians of Degel HaTorah state that the public will now see that they were correct all along, and that the Litvishe community in Yerushalayim is at least as large as, if not larger than, the chassidishe populace. Rav Boruch Soloveitchik was charged with overseeing the political dealings of the Litvishe party.

Some may be wondering why the Litvishe and Sephardic gedolim chose to support Moshe Leon’s mayoral bid. There are several answers to that question. First, some believe that chareidi interests would be much better served by a non-chareidi mayor who is indebted to the chareidi community rather than a chareidi mayor who is beholden to his secular constituents. According to that view, Moshe Leon would be capable of giving much more to the chareidi community than Yossi Deitsch.

But there is another reason, as well: In exchange for the chareidim’s support of Leon, Defense Minister Lieberman promised to find a solution to the problem of the draft law that would be accepted by the entire chareidi populace, including the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel. Why would Lieberman be willing to pay that price? For one thing, he is not interested in having the government fall. Even more than that, he is Moshe Leon’s political patron.

But what if Leon loses the race? Will the chareidim have compromised their interests by supporting him? The answer to that question is that nothing will happen. The mayor of Yerushalayim, whoever it may be, will not be able to function without the support of the chareidim, who will constitute a majority of the city council. As for Lieberman, he will be obligated to abide by his commitment even if his chosen candidate loses. The chareidim promised only to support Leon; they did not promise that he will actually be elected. An agreement is an agreement and Avigdor Lieberman keeps his word.

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. Actually there are more than 3 chareidi parties, namely Etz, which is becoming quite a big party in Yerushalayim and probably even larger than Degel who are now 2 separate parties.

  2. Well written peice, but complete nonsense.
    Leon is an anti chareidi candidate who has repeatedly committed to increase the chilul shabbos in the city, and fight the chareidi takeover.

    Deitch, while being far from perfect would definitely be better than Leon.

    Its nonsensical to say that Rav Chaim would prefer Leon over Deitch, as Rav Chaim along with Rav Elyashiv have always rallied for a frum candidate in Yerushalayim.
    Unfortunately today, when the chatzer is making all the decisions, we can find ourselves in a situation where the once respected party of Degel Hatorah has been lowered to this immature power struggle (which will not end well for them).


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