United Torah Judaism
Published 2nd January, 2013
United Torah Judaism or UTJ was founded in 1992 as a coalition of the Agudat Yisrael (Israelite Association) and the Degel Hatorah (Flag of the Torah) plus two smaller parties. The coalition is an ultra-orthodox group, but the parties are united for the purpose of achieving electoral success by crossing the electoral threshold, rather than any united policy viewpoint.
The coalition won four seats in 1992 and again in 1996. In 1999 they took five seats in the 120 seat Knesset and joined the government of Ehud Barak, but left after just six months.
In 2001 Ariel Sharon formed a new government which United Torah Judaism joined, although this only lasted until 2003 when fresh elections left them again with five seats but in opposition. They remained in opposition after the 2006 general election at which they won six seats.
In 2009 the party won five seats once more and, late into the coalition forming process, they eventually joined the Likud led government of Benjamin Netanyahu.