United Torah Judaism

(Yahadut Hatorah)

 

United Torah Judaism

United Torah Judaism

Founded in 1992

United Torah Judaism (Yahadut HaTorah) is a joint list made up of the ultra-Orthodox parties Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah. These two parties have run together since the elections for the 13th Knesset in 1992. United Torah Judaism (UTJ) promotes the interests of the Haredi community in Israel in the areas of education and welfare and regarding specific issues such as army service. It also works to preserve the religious character of the State of Israel. In September, 1999, during the 15th Knesset, United Torah Judaism even left the coalition in protest against the shipment of a turbine to the Ashkelon power station on the Jewish Sabbath. Regarding foreign policy and security, United Torah Judaism is a centrist party, which determines its positions based on religious concerns more than security concerns or diplomatic considerations. For example, United Torah Judaism was a member of the coalition government that carried out the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The party does tend to support the right-wing camp, however, because that camp tends to have a more conservative outlook on religious issues.

 

table
Election Year Votes Count Seats Count Votes Percent List Of Candidates Platform
2015 20 6 5.0 Candidates Candidates
2013 19 7 5.2 Candidates Candidates
2009 18 5 4.4 Candidates Candidates
2006 17 6 4.7 Candidates Candidates
2003 16 5 4.3 Candidates Candidates
1999 15 5 3.8 Candidates Candidates
1996 14 4 3.2 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1992 13 4 3.3 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform

Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.

Menachem Porush, Yaakov Litzman, Moshe Gafni, Avraham Ravitz, Meir Porush

Since the early 1950s, as a matter of principle and expression of ideological conviction, Agudat Israel, Degel HaTorah, or the combined UTJ list refused to take on the position of minister; rather, members of these parties had served only as deputy ministers. This enabled them to maintain that they are not participating in a Zionist government and to avoid sharing responsibility for policies with which they do not agree. The joint list has participated in five governments: In the first Netanyahu government in the 14th Knesset, United Torah Judaism held the portfolio of Deputy Minister of Housing. In the 15th Knesset, UTJ was briefly a member of Ehud Barak's coalition, but refused to hold a position in the government at the instruction of the Council of Torah Sages. In the government formed by the Likud in the 16th Knesset, members of United Torah Judaism served as Deputy Minister of Welfare and Deputy Minister of Transportation. In the second Netanyahu government in the 18th Knesset, UTJ representative Yaakov Litzman served as Deputy Minister of Health. Despite being Deputy Minister he effectively enjoyed the powers of a full minister  Litzman was reappointed to that position in Neatanyahu's fourth government. Following a ruling by the High Court of Justice, annuling the arrangement of Deputy Minister holding powers of a full Minister, Litzman was appointed as the Minister of Health in September 2015. This is the first time a Minister of Agudat Israel is included in government since the early 1950s.