Police probing charges MK Slomiansky paid for votes

Tapes explaining how Slomiansky bribed voters given to fraud squad by private investigator hired by his Bayit Yehudi leader Bennett.

Bayit Yehudi MK Nisan Slomiansky 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bayit Yehudi MK Nisan Slomiansky 370
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bayit Yehudi MK Nissan Slomiansky earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first legislator in the 19th Knesset to be the subject of a new police investigation, according to evidence revealed on Monday by Channel 2 and Yediot Aharonot.
Slomiansky was the big winner in the November 13 Bayit Yehudi Knesset primary, receiving 18,601 of the 33,312 votes cast. He beat challengers Ayelet Shaked and Uri Orbach by a wide margin, even though they had the backing of newly elected party chairman Naftali Bennett and Slomiansky did not.
But the reports revealed that some of those votes allegedly came from vote contractors whom Slomiansky paid large sums. Tapes of the vote contractors explaining how Slomiansky bribed them were submitted to police by Bennett, who hired private investigator Nisim Garameh to check whether Slomiansky was using illegal methods against him and his allies.
Vote contractor Avichai Amrusi told Garameh that he registered 4,000 people in Bayit Yehudi’s membership drive. Amrusi said the costs of the membership fees totaled some NIS 60,000, but Slomiansky paid NIS 125,000 to his yeshiva and owed him an equal amount.
“Membership drives are the time to milk politicians,” Amrusi said on the tape.
Amrusi boasted that some of the money was delivered by messenger and some was left for him in Marlboro cigarette boxes in the back of a car in Tel Aviv. He said he was sure he would receive the rest of the money from Slomiansky because paying for votes is illegal and he had all the information written down about when the latter brought him money and how much.
Amrusi later denied his earlier comments in a video released to crisis management strategist Roni Rimon, who was hired by Slomiansky.
Former Shas Tel Aviv city councilman David Ezra also told Garameh that Slomiansky paid him NIS 100,000. He said he told the members he registered to vote for Slomiansky but he ignored Slomiansky’s request to have his loyalists support then-MK Zevulun Orlev in the party leadership contest against Bennett.
“I told people I don’t care who they vote for in the leadership race,” Ezra said. “They can write [slain former Hamas mentor Sheikh Ahmed Yassin for all I care.”
Slomiansky vigorously denied any connection to the vote contractors, telling Channel 2 that the accusations against him were nothing but lies spread by his political rivals. He said he had not been summoned for questioning by police.
“The rumors that I purchased votes in the primary are delusional,” Slomiansky said. “I have been in politics for 21 years, including nine years in the Knesset, and have never been accused of anything unclean. Now there are delusional rumors that even the person spreading them [Amrusi] denies.”
Regarding the timing of the information coming out, Slomiansky said: “The coalition being built will have positions [in the government].
This is a time of rumors and gossip.
There are people who want a post or don’t want me to have a post.”
Slomiansky had been expected to be chosen by the Bayit Yehudi central committee to receive a cabinet post if the party joins the coalition.
But Bennett received the central committee’s permission last week to choose the party’s ministers himself, and he prefers Orbach.
A Bayit Yehudi official said he was not surprised to see the accusations against Slomiansky, because the MK did not honor political deals made with other candidates but still won the primary by a wide margin.
“Slomiansky’s political career is over,” the Bayit Yehudi official said.
“This is a nail in the coffin. I don’t see how Slomiansky can come back from this.”
A Bayit Yehudi spokesman said: “We support the efforts of the police and hope they complete the investigation quickly. We will not tolerate corruption in the party, and we hope the probe finds that no wrongdoing was done.”
A police spokesman said the matter was being vetted to see whether to open a formal investigation.
Meanwhile, Bayit Yehudi negotiators met with Likud Beytenu representatives for coalition talks for the second night in a row late on Monday.
Both sides reported progress in the meetings. •