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United Torah Judaism

Party name: United Torah Judaism

Bloc: Haredi

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Leader Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni Method of leadership selection Appointment by Council of Rabbinic Sages
Current MKs 6 Method of List selection Appointment by Council of Rabbinic Sages

Brief party history:

United Torah Judaism (UTJ) is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel. Degel HaTorah is the party of the Lithuanian (non-Hasidic / Mitnagdim) Haredi Jewry. Agudat Israel is the party of Hasidic Judaism. They have not always agreed on policy and have sometimes split while in the Knesset, but run together in elections in order not to waste votes.

What do they stand for?

UTJ’s main policy is to maintain the status quo relationship in matters of religion and state. The party has sat in both right and left wing coalitions.

Activity in the current Knesset

One of the main policies UTJ has lobbied against in recent years is the Draft Law that seeks to reform draft deferment for Haredi yeshiva students. UTJ has also worked to prevent public construction work on Shabbat.

Though traditionally members of the party do not accept ministerial roles, Yaakov Litzman moved from deputy health Minister to Health Minister after a ruling by the High Court and receiving Council of Rabbinic Sages’ approval. Moshe Gafni, leader of the Degel HaTorah faction, chairs the finance committee in the Knesset.