Oct 22, 2008

Gur supports Mafdal candidate in Bet Shemesh

I don't remember the Haredi UTJ party ever being so divided in any previous election season as they are this year. they always squabble over which faction will get priority and jobs and the like, but the fights this time are really all out.

Meir Porush is the official candidate of UTJ for the jerusalem mayoral position. He got the nod due to previous coalition agreements between the various factions. The UTJ party makes very detailed agreements every election season, and they include all the cities in which they contend. For example, they will not just make an agreement on how to vote in jerusalem, but will say this year Degel gets the seat in jerusalem and Aguda gets it in Bnei Brak, and in bet Shemesh they will support this candidate and in Beitar they will support that candidate, and in the knesset this faction will get these spots on the list and that faction will get those spots...

Meier Porush got himself into some bad blood with other factions of UTJ in last years Beitar elections. he supported a rival candidate over the incumbent. the incumbent -Pindros - had been the Degel guy. Porush was acting within the agreement that had been previously signed, and his candidate was supposed to be the agreed upon candidate by all parties. Degel chose to not honor the agreement and they fielded Pindros again against Porush's candidate. Porush did not back down and kept his man in the race. Rubinstein, Porush's man, went on to win, and a lot of people got very upset at Porush.

Now they are taking it out on him. And it does not just affect Porush and his candidacy in jerusalem, but all election campaigns in various cities in which UTJ has a position.

One of those cities is Bet Shemesh. Gur, one of the parties upset at Porush, has decided that they will support Moshe Abutbol in bet Shemesh. The condition attached is that Shas work against Porush in jerusalem. That puts Shas in a tough position, because Shas and Porush worked together in beitar for the success of Rubinstein, and they were expected to support Porush in jerusalem (ever since Deri's failed bid to join the fray). if Shas agrees and goes against Porush, it could be disastrous for Porush.

So what did they do? In Bet Shemesh, Gur fielded their own candidate - a guy named Ehrenreich from Immanuel. This was obviously only done for internal Gur reasons, as he had absolutely no chance of winning anything other than possibly 500 or so votes from the Gerrer community. MK Litzman was using his candidacy to negotiate with the various other candidates and see from whom he could squeeze out the most.

It turns out Ehrenreich has now pulled his candidacy and come out in support of Shalom Lerner. I do not know what Lerner offered Gur for this support, other than a vague promise of construction in the upcoming neighborhood of RBS Gimmel, and some positions in a new city goverance.

This is big for Lerner, as it is his first agreement with any other group. On the othe rhand, I suspect it is still only temporary, as Gur is probably using it as a way to pressure Abutbol and Shas into an agreement. I don't know how Shas can agree, considering their relationship with Porush, but I do not see how Gur can support Lerner when all the other Haredi parties and factions have finally come out in support of Abutbol.

We'll see what happens with that. I must say Degel signing an agreement with Abutbol makes it very tough on Lerner. The polls have shown him to be neck and neck with Abutbol even in such a scenario, but polls are rarely reliable, and the polls are already a few weeks old. Much has changed since then.

In the meantime, the agreement between lerner and Gur has been acheived, and perhaps this will be the first of others, as Belz is also rumored to be following Gur in supporting Lerner. After that, perhaps others will follow.


  1. Are you surprised that degel came out in favor of the chareidi guy? You dont seem that new here.

    The only reason they were drei'ing around so long was bc of Montags deep love of Vaknin - which every other chareidi in bet shemesh was against and waiting for it to die. Now that vaknin is clearly not going to win, who else would degel support?

  2. was not surprised at all. I assumed they were holding out for negotiation purposes. Montag nearly lost his inclusion in the Degel list solely because of his push to support Vaknin. There was no way after that they would push him down the list and then still support vaknin.

    I am surprised by Gurs support of lerner. It must be a negotiation ploy to get Shas in jerusalem to go against porush.

  3. 1) montag nearly lost his spot on degel bc of a lot more than this one move. His inclusion might cost him his seat, as misheknos will vote shas, not degel bc of this.

    2) seems like a power surge by gur, hope they dont shoot themselves in the foot as they try to shoot porush

  4. anon - Rabbi Goldstein decided to tell them to vote Shas? I had not heard that. I heard he was in the process of making a decision. Did you hear that as a final statement or is it an assumption?

    2. I agree. Litzman has been known to be very "kochani". there was an article in haaretz today about how the gerrer chassidim think they have no way to come out of this on top and many think Litzman has shot them in the foot. if Porush loses, Gur will be blamed for bring a chiloni mayor. if Porush wins despite Gur, Gur will come out as being irrelevant and no longer the powerful faction of chassidim...

  5. i heard that he can not tell people to go against degel and vote shas... but that his people will be telling people to vote shas unofficially of course. they are not happy. they feel played by montag and the degel crowd.
    the mishkenos degel guy (silverstien) sent in his letter of resignation to gafni and co and told him that he will not run or work for degel. I imagine this was with the guidance of the rov.

    moreover, its not just the rov and the mishkenos chevra. I have spoken to people from your side of town who also cant stand MM and felt that the best thing degel did in 5 years was decide not to run MM at all. and then they went and changed their mind - against the degel board. They have told me (im not talking major numbers, but its something) that they will not vote for degel is MM is running. Thats how much people (again, some, dont know how many) feel about MM and his vaknin kissing ways.

    regarding the litzman issue, hes doing the same thing here in BS also. If abutpol wins without him, they are meaningless. and if lerner wins against the chareidim, its his fault. Sometimes you wonder who makes these decisions.

  6. What is it exactly that he's done to upset everyone?


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