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Jan 20, 2015

who owns the Haredim Ovdim, if they even exist?

The "Haredim Ovdim", the people representing a group, unknown how large, of working-class Haredim who feel slighted by the establishment, are being courted by the various Haredi parties.

They have expressed dissatisfaction with UTJ, so they are considered to be courtable.

UTJ is claiming ownership, saying they are no different than any other Haredi. According to UTJ there is not even a classification of a group called Haredim Ovdim - they are just regular good old Haredim, and should not go anywhere.

Deri has met with them in an attempt to get them to support Shas in exchange for assistance in whatever they need.

Eli Yishai has met with them as well looking for their support.

Who will court them next is anybody's guess.

The funny part is UTJ's approach. They act as if they own these people. Both Yaakov Asher and Moshe Gafni have said that there is no such thing as a group called Haredim Ovdim, and they are just regular Haredim under UTJ.

Last I checked, any group of people have the right, ability, to get together and form a group concerned about common interests, and call themselves whatever they want.

Just like there is a social group called "Haredim", and they are not satisfied with just being called "Israelis", and there are "Israelis" and not just "Humans", so these people can decide for themselves that they want to categorize themselves as "Haredim Ovdim". They do not need Gafni's or Asher's approval.

In addition, MK Gafni also said on radio this morning that his job is to worry about and fight for the Torah-learners, not those that go to study academics. He said this while criticizing other parties that are looking to court these UTJ voters, including parties that might not even cross the threshold and just throw away thousands or tens of thousands of votes.

Gafni has said this before, that his job in the Knesset is to fight for the Torah-learners, the yeshiva and kollel students, and not for those who have left the yeshiva.

So, on the one hand he claims some sort of ownership of this group and says they should stick with UTJ and nobody else should court them, while on the other hand, at the same time, he says we won't fight for your needs.

It is astounding to think that in the past, in and through previous election cycles, these people have stuck with Gafni and UTJ for so long. They are told straight out that their needs as a group are not important to the party, but they stick around anyway. And they probably will this time as well.

I am sure there are individuals who leave, despite the group staying. And perhaps over time more and more of the individuals will leave the group and find their representation elsewhere. For now though, it seems almost like battered wife syndrome.

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  1. You are right on, but I think you must mention that there are two Ashkenazi gedolei hador and there is no free will. Along with that, the social pressure to vote for the gimel is so intense and opposition is not tolerated and also violent and ruthless.

  2. Since the Hareidi population has been growing rapidly over the past many years, yet the number of seats for gimmel has remained more or less constant, one is forced to admit that there must be many Hareidi voters who forget the instructions of the Gedolim when they are in the voting booth.

    1. The Haredi population is growing but seems reasonable that since the mid2000s, this boom is finally coming to voting age, so we saw stable growth from 6 to 7, and possibly 8 this time.

  3. I wonder if we will see an ideological and social revival of the PAI idea - Poalei Agudat Yisrael? For now I don't see much ideological interest, but the social move may lead some years later to people reconsidering and reviving the old PAI ideals. There was a time when people took pride in being working Haredim, working talmidei hachamim (among the Sefaradim that was always more common).


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