While Aryeh Deri waits for the Jerusalem District Court to decide whether he can run in the capital's mayoral election - a ruling is expected thursday - there have been major developments in the campaign of the other ultra-Orthodox candidate. Senior leaders from Agudath Israel and Degel Hatorah, which together make up United Torah Judaism, met Sunday night and decided to support the former's candidate, MK Meir Porush, in the November 11 election.
Nevertheless, there were contradictory reports after the meeting about whether it was decided that all the Haredi parties would support Porush for mayor, or only whether to support him as the head of the UTJ list for the city council.
Since announcing his candidacy two months ago, Porush has had an uphill battle gaining Haredi political support, particularly that of the Lithuanian Degel Hatorah faction of UTJ, whose chairman, MK Avraham Ravitz, has openly opposed Porush. The recent deals have still not yet yielded a signed agreement, but Porush supporters say he is closer than ever to gaining the support of the Haredi bloc.
Deputy Mayor, Yehoshua Pollak, a Porush confidante, said "It is clear Porush will receive the support, it was only a question of time." But Degel Hatorah denied the reports, saying only the question of the council list was discussed.
The meeting was held in the office of Mayor Uri Lupolianski, of Degel Hatorah, which had been accused of trying to get out of its agreement of five years ago to support the Agudath Israel candidate this time, and possibly to give its support to Deri.
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