United Torah Jewry appears to have achieved unity and inner
cohesiveness and has great hopes for the upcoming elections
on Tuesday October 28--2 Cheshvan. The candidates chosen to
represent the party in every location are well-liked by the
general public. In some towns UTJ is marching alone while in
others it is running on a joint ticket in partnership with
other parties and local lists. The many municipalities in
which UTJ is fielding candidates indicate the blessed growth
of the Torah community in Israel.
The focus is on the elections in Bnei Brak, but there the
only issue is representation on the municipal council.
Everyone has united behind the mayoral candidacy of Rabbi
Yissochor Frankental, current mayor of Emanuel. He is the
only candidate who filed for the election as mayor in Bnei
Brak, and was chosen by the Agudas Yisroel faction of UTJ,
based on the agreement signed five years ago that put current
mayor Rabbi Mordechai Karelitz into office.
Currently, UTJ holds 17 of the Bnei Brak City Council's 25
seats. Also running for the Council are Shas, United
Sephardic Bnei Torah, Mafdal, Likud and Labor. The Labor
Party currently has no representatives on the City Council
though they always had a small representation until the past
elections. The other parties have between one and four
UTJ is running independently in Ofakim, Azur, Yavneh,
Chatzor, Natzerat Illit, Petach Tikva, Rosh HaAyin, Carmiel
and Yeruchom. In Carmiel this is to be the first election in
which UTJ is vying on its own; in Yeruchom the UTJ candidate
is also vying for the mayor's office.
In Ashkelon, Zichron Yaakov, Netivot, Tzfat and Rechovot, UTJ
has united with Shas on a joint list.
In Herzliya, Hadera and Ramat Gan, UTJ is running with the
Mafdal and in Arad the party has formed a three-party list
together with Shas and the Mafdal. In Be'er Sheva, UTJ is
running on a united religious ticket.
In Dimona, Kiryat Gat and Raanana, UTJ joined local lists.
In Tel Aviv UTJ will run on a "neighborhoods" list with Eli
Aminov and Shaarei Tzion Institutions.
In Rechasim an agreement was reached to set up a joint list
known as Shin-Yud. Heading the list is Rabbi Yitzchok Reich,
the candidate for council chairman. The list was applauded by
rabbonim of local kehillos and received a political
seal of approval with the signatures of MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni
and Eli Yishai.
In Beit Shemesh a united UTJ-Degel HaTorah-Agudas Yisroel
list, which will be marked "Gimmel" on ballot slips, has been
submitted. The list was assembled at the last moment
following prolonged, exhausting negotiations between Degel
HaTorah and Agudas Yisroel representatives, talks that
concluded only when the lists were submitted last Thursday
night. Big changes are expected in Beit Shemesh due to the
large influx of chareidi families since the previous