Bennett: I hired investigators to track voter fraud
Contractor Amrusi says paid by Likud Beytenu MK; Bayit Yehudi leader reveals he ordered probe of illegal votes.
Accompanied by the media, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett votes in Ra'anana, January 22, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Nir Elias
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett admitted to hiring private investigators
leading to the police probe of MK Nissan Slomiansky for allegedly buying
Writing on Facebook on Tuesday, Bennett said he wanted to update
his supporters on the matter.
“Over six months ago, the Bayit Yehudi
membership drive began... During the membership drive we heard suspicions about
the purity of the process and activity by vote contractors enlisting large
numbers of illegal votes,” Bennett wrote.
“After the information reached me, I ordered a thorough
investigation of the vote contractors, which concentrated only on the purity of
the membership drive. As a result of the investigation, thousands of illegal
membership forms were disqualified.”
The findings of the probe were
brought to the police.
Meanwhile, Avichai Amrusi, the vote contractor
allegedly paid by Slomiansky, said that he was also paid by a Likud Beytenu MK,
according to reports by channels 2 and 10 on Tuesday. It is unclear if Amrusi
and his lawyers relayed this information to the police, but they are likely to
be interested in a plea bargain, and in order to receive one, they have to be
willing to give more information to the authorities.
A spokesman for the
Likud Beytenu MK said the accusations are baseless and the police is not
investigating the lawmaker.
The MK said he met Amrusi at campaign events,
but that he is not a major Likud activist and did not have any connection to
The vote contractor told private investigator Nisim Garameh that he
registered 4,000 people in the Bayit Yehudi’s membership drive, and Slomiansky
paid NIS 125,000 to his yeshiva.
Bennett wrote that he does not know why
the police’s investigation of Slomiansky reached the press on Monday, but that
he hopes it will end as soon as possible “so the unpleasant story can be put
The Bayit Yehudi leader explained that “vote contractors” are
people who recruit new party members who don’t care about the party and do
whatever the contractor, who paid them, says.
“This is an illegal action
that corrupts parties, because, instead of the membership drive expressing the
will of the public, it gives great power to a small amount of people,” he
“This is one of the major problems of the primary
system. Unfortunately, it reached us, too.”
Bennett added that he
is proud of his actions, which “kept the membership drive clean,” and that part
of the party’s slogan, “something new is beginning,” is to speak out against
“When faced with unacceptable phenomena, we must take
responsibility and act. We cannot stand silent,” he wrote, echoing statements he
made earlier Tuesday at a Bayit Yehudi faction meeting.
Bennett also said
he stands behind all of his party’s MKs, but when Slomiansky walked into the
Bayit Yehudi faction meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Bennett did not shake his
hand until immediately after a party strategist whispered something in his
Earlier Tuesday, Slomiansky said he is certain Bennett did not leak
the investigation to the press.
“I see the fingerprints of those who
would be happy if my [No. 3] place on the [Bayit Yehudi] list were left open to
other people,” he told Army Radio.
Due to his high spot on the party
list, Slomiansky is a possible candidate to be the Bayit Yehudi’s third
However, last week, the party’s Central Committee gave Bennett
the power to choose ministers himself, and he is thought to prefer MK Uri
Slomiansky’s attorney, Rachel Torren, asked Attorney- General
Yehuda Weinstein to speed up the investigation as much as possible, in order to
clear his name.