Yachad Chairman and former MK Eli Yishai said Wednesday that he will withdraw his candidacy and support United Torah Judaism party (UTJ) in the upcoming elections.
The announcement follows weeks of behind the scenes negotiations between the two parties.
“We have closed an agreement with Eli Yishai. He will withdraw and support UTJ,” said MK Moshe Gafni, chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee.
In return, Eli Yishai is expected to join the public sector to work for the benefit of the Charedi community. After the elections he will receive an appointment that will deal with solutions to the housing shortage in the Charedi community.
Yishai said that he made the decision so as not to waste any Charedi or right-wing votes in the event that Yachad failed to clear the electoral threshold.
“After weeks of intensive work to strengthen the Yachad movement, we reached the goal of over 100,000 supporters who registered and expressed their support in the way of the Rosh Yeshiva and Gaon Yisroel Rabbi Meir Mazuz Shlita, and through the Yahad movement. As we promised, the Yahad movement will not endanger the right and the Jewish character, certainly not in this critical election campaign,” Yishai declared.
“About ten days ago, the contacts started for us to support UTJ, mediated by Deputy Minister Rabbi Meir Porush. After we considered the data and examined the possibilities before us, we brought to the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Mazuz with all of those possibilities. As I did throughout my years in politics with integrity and faith, when I asked the rabbi I made sure that my personal benefit would not be a factor in the considerations,” he added.
Yishai also added that he believes there are about 100,000 supporters of his party.
If that number is accurate, and they all vote for UTJ, it could enable UTJ’s Anglo candidate, Yitzhak Pindrus to enter the Knesset given that UTJ is polling consistently at seven seats. Pindrus, who is 8th on the list, is a former mayor of Beitar Illit and deputy Jerusalem mayor. He was born in Jerusalem to parents from Cleveland and Boston.
The elections are April 9.