Degel HaTorah

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Degel HaTorah
דגל התורה
Leader Moshe Gafni
Avraham Ravitz
Founded 1988
Split from Agudat Yisrael
Newspaper Yated Ne'eman
Ideology Torah Judaism
Haredi Judaism
Ashkenazi Haredim interests (Misnagdim)[1][2]
Orthodox Halacha
Religious conservatism
Religion Haredi Judaism (Misnagdim)
Alliance United Torah Judaism
Current MKs 2 (as part of United Torah Judaism)
Election symbol

Degel HaTorah (Hebrew: דגל התורה‬, lit. Banner of the Torah) is an Ashkenazi Haredi political party in Israel. For much of its existence, it has been allied with Agudat Yisrael under the name United Torah Judaism.


Degel HaTorah represents the "Lithuanian wing" of the non-Hasidic Haredim (known by some as "Mitnagdim"), as opposed to the Hasidic-dominated Agudat Yisrael party. Sometimes, the parties compete against each other; at other times, they join forces within a political alliance called United Torah Judaism (UTJ) (Yahadut HaTorah in Hebrew).

Degel HaTorah's rabbinical arbiter (posek) was, until his death in 2012,[3] centenarian Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv of Jerusalem. Eliashiv served as one of two Chairmen of Degel haTorah's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah ("Council of Torah Sages"). After Eliyashiv's death Rabbi Ahron Shteinman led the party.


Degel HaTorah was founded in 1988 as a splinter from Agudat Israel.[4] Its establishment by Rabbi Elazar Shach was due to ongoing policy disputes with the Hasidic rabbis within Agudat Yisrael. In the 1988 elections, the party won two seats, taken by Moshe Gafni and Avraham Ravitz, and joined Yitzhak Shamir's coalition government. For the 1992 elections, the party allied itself with Agudat Yisrael under the name United Torah Judaism.

Although the party split shortly before the 1996 elections, they re-united for the elections. This was repeated for the 1999, 2006, and 2009 elections.

Currently, the party has three MKs (of the six representing United Torah Judaism) - Moshe Gafni, Uri Maklev, and Ya'akov Asher.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guide to Israel's political parties". BBC News. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Ishaan Tharoor (14 March 2015). "A guide to the political parties battling for Israel's future". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Ettinger, Yair (18 July 2012). "Rabbi Elyashiv, Venerated Leader in Ultra-Orthodox Community, Dies". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Matthew Wagner (14 December 2005). "Degel Hatorah kicks off election campaign". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 

External links[edit]