An Israeli Arab woman casts her vote at a polling station in the ‘Triangle’ town of Umm al-Fahm.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a continuation of what many called one of the most unsavory election campaigns in Israel’s history, on Tuesday there was a new wave of election interference and corruption.
A campaign by the Likud was uncovered in which the party gave hidden cameras to 1,200 election day polling-station observers in Arab town and cities in what it described as a bid to expose voter fraud.
A young man was caught on Tuesday morning in Rahat, for example, trying to hide a camera in an attempt to disqualify one of the polling stations. The police detained the boy, who caused a scene, and activists asked police to go around to all the schools and search for suspicious individuals. Police then nabbed at least five others with hidden cameras in Rahat alone.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the deployment of the cameras, saying “There should be cameras everywhere, not hidden ones,” adding that it would “ensure a fair vote.”
The Hadash-Ta’al list submitted an urgent complaint to the Central Elections Committee requesting that it “immediately remove the cameras that were installed illegally by right-wing activists in the polling stations in the Arab communities,” and claimed that “the extreme Right understands our power well, in overthrowing the government and has crossed every border, using illegal means in an attempt to intervene and prevent Arab citizens from voting.”
“Netanyahu wants to lower the percentage of Arabs arriving at the polls,” MK Ahmed Tibi said. The turnout in the Arab sector was reported to be extremely low during the day.
Central Elections Committee head Hanan Meltzer studied the complaint and stated that “voters were not filmed while voting.” He said that video should only be taken in a polling station in “exceptional circumstances,” mainly to document election fraud.
In further voting interference, Yisrael Beytenu filed a complaint against the New Right for sending out text messages in Russian to party supporters encouraging them to vote for the New Right. Yisrael Beytenu said New Right was using a list obtained through a survey company, which is forbidden on Election Day.
Further, Yisrael Beytenu claimed that numerous voting booths in cities ranging from Netanya, Bat Yam and Lod to Netivot, Hadera and Or Akiva were missing voting slips with their party’s letter on it.
On Monday night, a fake Facebook profile pretending to be Orly Levy-Abecassis, head of the Gesher Party, was circulated with the message that the party was dropping out of the Israeli elections, which was untrue.
In a separate but related incident, a fake Twitter profile pretending to be Channel 13 also “reported” that Gesher was dropping out.Maariv contributed to this report.