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November 14, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Aguda Fighting Over Knesset Seat

BY DAVID LANDAU

-

(Copyright 1975, JTA, Inc.)

JERUSALEM — A bitter
row within the Orthodox
Ap:udat Israel Party sur-
faced this month, with
Knesseter Manachem Po-
rush and former Knesseter
Shlomo Gross fighting for
Porush's Knesset seat.
The row has simmered for

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over two years — every
since the build up began for
the 1973 elections. At that
time, Aguda had four Knes-
set seats — but pollsters felt
it would probably drop one
in the elections (as indeed it
did). Competition was
therefore tough for the first
three places on the party
list.
Since Shlomo Lorincz's
place at number one, and
Yehuda Abramovitz's place
in the Knesset at number
two, as the representative of
the Gur Hasidic commu-
nity, were impregnable, the
feud centered on the num-
ber three spot.

Porush gave a written
undertaking — unani-
mously endorsed by the
party executive — that he
would hold the seat for two
years — half the Knesset
term — and then vacate it
to Gross.

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He will only cede his
seat, Porush adds, if com-
manded to do so by the
Aguda "Council of
Sages." That council,
headed by the Rebbe of
Gur, is reluctant to enter
into the fray between the
two politicians.

The dispute is compli-
cated by the fact that party
chairman Rabbi Pinhas Al-
ter holds written undertak-
ings from the other two
Knesseters — Lorincz and
Abramovitz — to cede their
seats if the Council of Sages
requests them to do so.
Porush says, therefore,
that the Sages must decide
which of the three Knessers
should step down for Gross.
Gross argues that Porush's
undertaking — unlike the
other two — was couched in

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The deadline for the
changeover passed — mid-
October — but Porush ada-
mantly refuses to cede the
seat to Gross. He is pre-
pared, so his supporters say,
to split the party, and con-
tinue in the Knesset as a
lone, non-party man, rather
than give up his seat to
Gross.
Porush claims that the
undertaking was extorted
from him under pressure
and threats. He says that
Gross, in 1973, exploited his
position as election organ-
izer inside Aguda (the party
was planning internal elec-
tions — the first in two dec-
ades) to press him (Porush)
into signing the undertak-
ing.
The elections were never
held. Thus, says Porush, the
party executive is not a duly
elected body and, therefore,
its endorsement of the ar-
rangement between himself
and Gross lacks moral au-
thority. Hence, he proposes
to ignore it.

Porush charged that
Gross, as election organizer,
was responsible for the fact
that the internal elections
did not in fact take place.
Gross rejects this allega-
tion — and counters with
the accusation that it was
Porush's use of "undemo-
cratic tactics" which in fact
brought the election cam-
paign within Aguda to a
standstill.

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