After a long day, summing up a long campaign, the representatives of chareidi parties expressed satisfaction with their achievements in the elections.
As it seemed early in the vote count, UTJ was expected to get six to seven seats, while Shas was slightly down, with seven to eight seats.
Late last night, or perhaps early this morning, as the real-time results started coming through, Hamodia spoke to MK Rabbi Uri Maklev, at UTJ headquarters.
Rabbi Maklev was content with the results, saying that it was the outcome of a hard-worked campaign across the country.
“After a difficult term for our community, and for the entire country, tonight we can say that people have realized that we are not campaigning for what may be in the future; it is for the past. The people appreciate our hard work and dedication, from all our MKs, who are always willing to help and give assistance to anyone who calls or is need of help.
“We have seen a very devoted campaign, and notable is the work in the cities out of the regular mainstream chareidi areas. Wherever our representatives went they were heard out; not a single chiloni slammed the door in their faces… no, not all of them voted Gimmel, but they heard us out and respected us.
“After all is said and done, the people in Israel want — and appreciate — Torah and mitzvos, and were thus hurt with the last government.
“When the final results come through, you will see growth in many far out places. It might not be in the thousands, but percentage-wise it is a gain.”
Earlier today you were at the home of the Rosh Yeshivah Harav Steinman, shlita. What was his message for election day?
“The Rosh Yeshivah inquired about the elections and asked that we continue to make a kiddush Hashem.
“To see the thousands of volunteers — yes, no other party has so many volunteers like UTJ — with the small budget that we get for elections, and to pull off such a result is a success and a kiddush Hashem.
“As it seems now, we have over 200,000 votes. Last election we had about 195,000. Mind you, this is after all those who didn’t vote for us from the chareidi public and cast their votes to parties that didn’t cross the threshold.”
How do you see the new government being formed?
“It seems that any coalition will need us, and they know what we need to join.”
Hamodia later reached MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, also at the UTJ headquarters.
At this initial stage of the evening, how do you sum up the result?
“Obviously nothing is final yet, but based on the exit polls we can say that, baruch Hashem, the enemies of the Torah and the Torah community are down — from Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu.
“It is distressing that the chareidi parties are a little lower, as it seems from the exit polls, but we hope to be part of the next coalition and try to correct some of the damage wreaked on us over the last two years.”
Who do you see forming the next government?
“These issues, as any major decision in UTJ, will only be answered by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, which is to convene Wednesday afternoon in Yerushalayim, but as I see it, the only real option of forming a government is with Binyamin Netanyahu.
“Both parties, Herzog and Netanyahu, spoke with our representatives already tonight, and we will weigh our choices.”
In a word, how do you sum up today’s campaign?
“I was across the country today, from Yerushalayim to Kiryat Gat, Modiin Ilit to Bnei Brak and even places not traditionally seen as the home ground of UTJ, like Kiryat Bialik and Nazereth Ilit, and all I can say is that we have showed a real hislahavus d’kedushah.
“In my eyes, to see a result of over 200,000 voting for UTJ in itself is a major kiddush Hashem!”
Shas Satisfied With Outcome
Shas Chairman MK Rabbi Aryeh Deri, speaking at the Shas campaign headquarters, was satisfied upon seeing the exit-poll results.
“Although we may be slightly down in numbers, those who know what a campaign we have been through and to, baruch Hashem, come through with this is a success.
“We have had a hard year and a half, since the passing of Maran Harav Ovadiah, zt”l, but we have our Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah who lead our way.
“Those who recall, Shas reached its peak when we had only four and five seats, so this can also be considered a success.”
As we went to press, it was reported that Eli Yishai’s Yachad party was expected to make the threshold and enter the Knesset with four seats.