An electoral commission member was indicted for falsifying election results in favor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, the Justice Ministry reported on Sunday.
The Haifa District Attorney's Office indicted Likud member Saber Bawakni for obstructing the due process of the general election and using forged documents, subject to a hearing on Sunday, after an investigation was conducted by the Coast District Central Police Unit in January.
According to the indictment, while serving as an electoral commission member from Likud stationed in as-Sadiq, a school in the village of Fureidis, Bawakni allegedly dropped 56 signed ballot envelopes into the ballot box, so they would be counted as eligible votes by the other members of the commission.
He also attempted to drop an additional 230 envelopes, in order to obstruct the process of the election, said the attorney's office. Close to five thousand voters, or 56% of Fureidis' eligible voters, voted in September. While the majority of the residents voted for the Arab minority's Joint List, 138 residents voted for Netanyahu's Likud.
"[Netanyahu] will do everything. He will cheat, he will lie, he will smear and [besmirch the discourse] only to escape trial," Blue and White number two, former finance minister Yair Lapid said in response to the indictment. "Only if we have one seat more [than Likud] we will be able to stop that! There is no other option."
In April, 1,200 activists armed with cameras were found secretly filmed polling stations in Arab towns and villages. It was later revealed that the activists were hired by Likud. The day after the election, Kaizler Inbar, the public relations company hired by Likud for the operation, wrote a post on Facebook taking pride in having lowered the voter turnout among Arab Israelis.
In August, the practice was banned by the Central Election Committee. Ahead of the September election, Netanyahu introduced a bill to allow activists to film inside polling stations on election day, following the controversy.
A week before Israelis cast their votes last September, Netanyahu's Facebook page sent messages calling on voters to prevent a government with the Joint List, saying that Arabs "want to destroy us all – women, children and men."
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh responded to the report, condemning "racist and dangerous incitement by Netanyahu against the Arab population."