Aguda Denies Deal with Government

The Aguda Executive has categorically denied that the party intends to seal a deal with Labor as has been reported in the Israeli press. The deal would purportedly have entailed Aguda undertaking to support the Rabin government on defense and foreign policy in return for a government undertaking to maintain the religious status quo.

That would mean the continued exemption of yeshiva students from army service–a subject which Mapam and Independent Liberal politicians are currently pressing to be reviewed. Army circles, too, are known to favor some new arrangement where the yeshiva students would do their national service. Some 10,000 such exemptions are issued each year.

The Aguda Executive announced that the recent convention of Aguda’s World Executive in Jerusalem had taken no political decisions–hence there had been no decision to forge a deal with Labor. The World Executive had concerned itself with “spiritual organizational and social” matters, the local Executive spokesman said. He implied that political questions had come up, too. and the consensus was to turn over such matters to Aguda’s “Council of Sages” for their binding ruling.

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