Council of Torah Sages

(Moetzet Gedolei Ha-Torah)
   The supreme authority in all matters affecting the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel Party. The council, instituted in the 1920s, is a group of revered scholars and rabbis, heads of mainly Ashkenazi Yeshivas (religious schools), and members of Hasidic dynasties who represent the various factions of the Aguda Movement. Council members are chosen for their scholarly merit and prestige in the realm of Orthodox Jewry. The Council of Torah Sages continues to be the supreme decision-making body for Aguda adherents, and its decisions are sovereign in all questions affecting the membership, including religious and political matters, such as joining or remaining in a government coalition. This authority derives from the personal standing and reputation of its members, who have achieved recognition as qualified interpreters of Halacha and are viewed with high esteem by members of Aguda. The council traditionally has not permitted its representatives in the Knesset to accept ministerial appointments, but they have held important committee chairmanships.
   See also Political parties.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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