Poalei Agudat Yisrael



Poalei Agudat Yisrael

Founded in 1922

Poalei Agudat Yisrael (literally: "The workers of Agudath Israel," known also by the acronym "Pai") was an ultra-Orthodox workers party established in Poland in 1922, which espoused “socialism with Torah.” Although it opposed class warfare, the party asserted that justice should be demanded in labor relations because the Torah never sided with those who exploit others. During the British Mandatory period, as one of the forces operating to promote the establishment of a Jewish state, Poalei Agudat Yisrael supported immigration and settlement and established Kibbutz Hafetz Haim. Members of Poalei Agudat Yisrael also joined the Haganah. Having espoused dovish political positions until the 1970s, the party subsequently shifted towards hawkish positions, which include championing the principle of the Greater Israel and the establishment of settlements in the territories.


Poalei Agudat Yisrael ran in the first elections as part of the United Religious Front. In 1951, Pai ran as an independent party. In the next two election campaigns, it joined Agudat Yisrael (Agudath Israel) in a joint list called the Religious Torah List. This partnership ended in 1960, when Pai joined the Mapai government and, in so doing, violated a decision of the Council of Torah Sages. In the 1960s, the party ran independently. In the 1973 elections for the Eighth Knesset, Poalei Agudat Yisrael once again collaborated with Agudat Yisrael as part of the Religious Torah List. In the 1977 elections for the Ninth Knesset and the 1981 elections for the 10th Knesset, it again ran independently and subsequently had a representative in the list of United Torah Judaism (Yahadut HaTorah). The last member of the party who served as a member of Knesset was Avraham Verdiger in the 13th Knesset.


Election Year Votes Count Number Of Seats Share Of Votes List Of Candidates Platform
1981 17,090 - 0.9 Candidates Candidates
1977 23,571 1 1.3 Candidates Candidates
1969 24,968 2 1.8 Candidates Candidates
1965 22,066 2 1.8 Candidates Candidates
1961 19,428 2 1.9 Candidates Candidates
1951 11,194 2 1.6 Candidates Candidates

Note that the candidates in this table are in Hebrew.

Binyamin Mintz, Avraham Verdiger

Poalei Agudat Yisrael participated in the two first governments of the State of Israel (as part of the United Religious Front) and in the third government, when a Pai member served as Deputy Minister of Education, until the party resigned from the government due to the drafting of women to the IDF. In 1960, Binyamin Mintz joined the Mapai government and was appointed Minister of Postal Services.