Rabbis throw weight behind far-right Yachad party
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Rabbis throw weight behind far-right Yachad party

Hard-line rabbis run ad supporting ex-Shas lawmaker Eli Yishai's upstart faction, which includes freshly cleared-to-run Kahanist Baruch Marzel

Yachad chairman Eli Yishai and extreme Right politician Baruch Marzel, seen during a discussion in the Central Elections Committee in the next Knesset, on February 12, 2015. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
Yachad chairman Eli Yishai and extreme Right politician Baruch Marzel, seen during a discussion in the Central Elections Committee in the next Knesset, on February 12, 2015. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Leading rabbis and yeshiva heads of the religious-Zionist community published a letter of support Thursday for the nascent ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox Yachad party.

In an ad taken out in religious Israeli newspaper Besheva, a letter supporting the party appeared with the signatures of nearly 20 leading rabbis, alongside a note drafted by rabbis Dov Lior and Nachum Nerya, two prominent hard-line religious leaders.

“No apologies or confusion. Out of all the lists running for the upcoming Knesset, there is only one list with members who are committed to adhering to the Torah,” the two rabbis wrote in their letter.

Lior, one the community’s most important halachic decision makers, has often come under fire in Israeli society for his controversial political views.

He was arrested in 2011 on suspicion of incitement toward racism, following his support of the book “Torat Hamelech,” which discusses hypothetical situations in which non-Jews may be killed.

Yachad was formed when MK Eli Yishai split off from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party he used to head, after finding himself sidelined by returning party member Aryeh Deri, who had also led the party before being sent off to jail for graft.

Yachad then entered a technical agreement to join with the ultra-nationalist Otzmah Yehudit faction, meant to help the two parties pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent.

The party’s list includes US-born Baruch Marzel, who was barred from the elections earlier in the month for alleged anti-Arab racism but later cleared to run by the Supreme Court.

Marzel, placed fourth on the list, has led marches of far-right activists through Arab towns and was affiliated with the now-banned Kach party, founded by the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

A number of rabbi from the national-religious community have been hesitant to publicly endorse the party because of its hard-line political and religious views.

Rabbi Zvi Tau, head of the Har Hamor yeshiva and a leading figure in the ZIonist-religious community, who had previously refused to support the party due to its merger with Otzmah Yehudit, is among those who signed the letter.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this article.

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