JERUSALEM (Jul. 21)
The Orthodox Aguda Israel Party held its first internal elections in 30 years yesterday and according to the unofficial count they resulted in a resounding defeat for its hitherto strongest faction headed by MK Shlomo Lorincz. Lorincz, the only Agudist leader opposed to a united front with the relatively more moderate and Zionist-inclined. Poale Aguda Israel, ran a poor third-behind former MK Menahem Porush who came in second. First place went to the “Central Faction” headed by Pinhas Menahem Alter of the Hasidic Gur dynasty.
Observers said today that a new alignment was likely to emerge in the party which could spell the political eclipse of Lorincz. The Aguda, a tiny party to begin with, is fragmented into more than a half-dozen factions representing various Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox sects. It won only three Knesset seats in the last elections. If the seats are re-allocated, Lorincz is expected to lose his. Lorincz has already charged that Porush “bought” votes. Neutral observers said, however, that Porush had run a well organized and astute campaign.