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16-Dec-2017 16:40

Similarly, in order to avoid the problems that led to the 2004 split, disagreements about joining a coalition will not be determined by a majority vote of MKs, but rather taken to the party's rabbinic leaders.

Various media interviews with the party's Knesset members confirmed that it would strongly consider joining a coalition with the Ehud Olmert-led Kadima party, should it be offered to them after the elections.

Policy decisions are also weighed and decided by a Moetzes Gedolei Ha Torah ("Council of Torah Sages"), a council of experienced communal rabbis, made up of mostly senior and elderly heads of yeshivas, all very learned in Talmud, devoted to halakha (classical Jewish law), and guided by their knowledge and application of the classical "Code of Jewish Law", the Shulkhan Arukh.

The Agudat Yisrael faction takes its directions from the Hasidic rebbes of Ger, Vizhnitz, Boston, and Sadigura, also steeped in Torah law and mysticism, who exert much influence in the daily lives of their followers (the "Hasidim").

The Agudat MKs argued that they should be entitled to follow their own rabbis' ruling, while their Degel Ha Torah counterparts accused them of disrespecting Rabbi Eliashiv.

The Agudah faction proceeded to follow the rebbe of Ger's instructions, with MK Yaakov Litzman accepting the position as chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee.

When UTJ joined Ariel Sharon's coalition in 2004, it split into its two constituent factions of Degel Ha Torah and Agudat Israel.

Before the formation of UTJ and the establishment of Degel Ha Torah, the two factions were united under one united Agudat Yisrael party, but the late mentor and supreme guide of the non-Hasidic group, Rabbi Elazar Shach (1898–2001), broke away from the Hasidic wing when it was clear that the party was not living up to its mandate to represent all Torah Jewry.

‎, Transliterated: Yahadut Ha Tora Ha Meuhedet; UTJ) is an alliance of Degel Ha Torah and Agudat Israel, two small Israeli Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) political parties in the Knesset. The two parties have not always agreed with each other about policy matters.