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Israeli Ultra Orthodox Parties Split From Settlers

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties are forming their own distinct political bloc.
Ultra-Orthodox protesters pray during clashes in the town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem August 14, 2013. Ultra-Orthodox protesters clashed on Wednesday with police and other security forces in the town of Beit Shemesh after a group of them broke into a construction site to prevent work from taking place at the site they believe contains ancient graves. REUTERS/ Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: RELIGION CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX12L8W
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Chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Yahadut HaTorah faction, Knesset member Eliezer Moses, aroused a storm on Aug. 7 in the ultra-Orthodox media when he went on the offensive against the settlers in an interview with the Kikar HaShabbat news website. "The Hebron Yeshiva is as or more important to us than the city of Hebron," Moses was quoted as saying in the interview headline. In the interview, Moses said that as the diplomatic process advances, the chances increase that ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and Yahadut HaTorah will join the government instead of the right-wing parties.

The interview with Moses left almost no mark outside the ultra-Orthodox media, even though it contains the seeds of a real political drama. True, Moses said what he did at a time that ultra-Orthodox communities were removed from the national priority map, and while several settlements were added to the list. But it would be a mistake to attribute his words only to this when — in fact — they reflect a deep conceptual change affecting the ultra-Orthodox leadership ever since the last elections.

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