The Central Elections Committee fined the Likud party NIS 7,500 to be paid to the Gesher party for false election campaign statements, Maariv reported Monday. The action follows a petition submitted by Gesher to the Central Elections Committee alleging false and manipulative surveys that deliberately and intentionally indicated Gesher as ranking low in the polls. The fake survey results were distributed via SMS text messages from anonymous phone numbers, reported Maariv, the Hebrew-language sister publication of The Jerusalem Post.
The Elections Committee noted that this was unacceptable and that the Likud party was behind the text messages and must compensate Gesher.
Gesher chairwoman MK Orly Levy-Abecassis said, "it is possible to deceptively try to hide Gesher from survey results, but not from the hearts of the people," she said. "Despite all the lies and spins, Gesher will be part of the next Knesset. Gesher will determine who will form the next government," the MK added. The texts may have led to voters dismissing Gesher as not having a chance of crossing the electoral threshold and thus voting for the larger Likud instead.