By Luck of the Draw, Porush Loses Knesset Seat

The luck of the draw has cost longtime member Menachem Porush his Knesset seat.

Porush, 78, has sat in the Knesset for 39 years as a representative of Agudat Yisrael, which along with another fervently Orthodox party, Degel HaTorah, comprises the United Torah Judaism bloc.

A ruling last week by the Council of Torah Sages, the supreme council of UTJ, ousted Porush from the Knesset, but left the equally colorful Avraham Shapira, also a member of Agudah, still in the Knesset.

In the summer of 1992, when the current Knesset was elected and the UTJ bloc was formed, it was agreed that one of the two Agudah members would resign after sitting for two years to permit Avraham Verdiger, who remained waiting in the wings, to take his place.

But when the time came, neither Porush nor Shapira wanted to yield his seat. Last week, the rabbis who comprise the Council of Sages decreed that lots should be drawn.

Porush took the result of the draw with equanimity, saying that he had many other public duties to perform.

Commenting on his winning the draw, Shapira said: “It was apparently divine will that I should continue.”

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