The bad and the ugly
The chareidi parties UTJ and Shas gained significant voters compared to the elections five months earlier. Shas had 330,199 votes and UTJ had 268,775 votes, meaning that 598,974 voters stood up and declared that they are in the unambiguous camp of the Ribono Shel Olom.
The campaign revolved almost exclusively on a choice for or against Hashem and the Torah. Although not visible in the chareidi neighborhoods, the rest of the country was covered with signs against Halochoh and against the religious community.
Election campaigns and plenty of other occasions have provided ample time for attacks on religious Jewry in Israel. There have been many politicians whose specialty was dumping onto the heads of chareidi leaders, politicians and ordinary citizens. But many thought that this time had significantly surpassed all the past.
Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party led the charge. "Live separately from us and pay your own way. Do whatever you want in your period. But don't come into our cities. Don't crawl into your schools. Don't touch our budgets. And don't even come close to our stores and coffee houses." This was part of their Russian language campaign material.
And it went on and on. "Don't interfere with us building our state and living according to our laws and not according to your accursed laws..."
"I have lived for several years in a non-religious city in the center of the country and I have voted here several times. I never felt so rejected, so alien, so illegitimate as I felt this time when I went to vote in the poll in which I am registered," said Rabbi Yisrael K. "I saw hatred in their eyes. A pure hatred like nothing I have ever encountered. Undoubtedly the terrible incitement of Lieberman and Lapid has penetrated deeply into the consciousness of many people."
Against this were the almost 600,000 who voted for a chareidi party. Nonetheless the latest results of all the final votes show that UTJ has lost one of its 8 seats to the Likud.
The heads of the organizational headquarters, Rabbi Menachem Shapira and Rabbi Shlomo Pollack, sum up the activities of Election Day and in a talk with Yated Ne'eman, place emphasis upon the main focus which led to the exceptional success of this election.
Chairman of the headquarters and administrator of the municipal department, Rabbi Menachem Shapira, said: "The fact that we see a sweeping rise in every city, both in the chareidi ones, the cities with mixed populations and in the peripheries, teaches us that this is not accidental but that the entire system without exception, in every place, understood that we are fighting for the sanctity of Hashem, and this is what brought such a result in each and every location and caused the activists to dedicate themselves so marvelously to a degree that no one expected to begin with.
Head of the election staff, Rabbi Shlomo Pollack, noted in a talk with Yated Ne'eman that "the tremendous rise of votes which we experienced is a result of the exceptional work carried out in each and every of the headquarters. We saw each one working hard to bring in more voters. The `matching' project where people assumed responsibility to bring in voters and made good their resolutions, resulted in significant achievements, alongside the professional underpinning of the computerized staff which enabled the workers to arrive prepared in the best possible manner to the day of elections.
"We were well set up and this is the secret of the impressive end result of a smooth operation on Election Day. At the same time, we must mention the personal input of Sar HaTorah, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky who went all out to reach the people throughout the country in order to arouse them to vote for the United Torah Jewry party."