Saturday, February 23, 2013

Israel's Haredi Religious Parties Fear Loss of Influence In New Government

In an article titled Haredi Power on the Brink, The Forward yesterday reported the two largest Israeli religious parties representing the ultra-Orthodox ("Haredi") Jewish community are now seriously concerned about the continuation of their political power.  The results of the recent election for members of Israel's Knesset have left the two parties-- United Torah Judaism and Shas-- facing the possibility of a government coalition that could threaten the continuation of military draft exemptions for yeshiva students and large amounts of government financial support for yeshivas (religious schools).  According to the Forward, the most significant "sign of panic" from the two Haredi  parties that fear being left out of the ruling coalition is their courting of their traditional opponent-- the Modern Orthodox Religious Zionist party, Jewish Home-- which may become part of the governing coalition. (See prior related posting.)