Two still held for J'lem election fraud

Police say around 420 election irregularities were reported across the country, including 20 cases of suspected fraud.

Voting 88 (photo credit: )
Voting 88
(photo credit: )
As the nation voted in municipal elections on Tuesday, police said around 420 election irregularities were reported across the country, including 20 cases of suspected fraud, one of which involved a campaign employee for haredi Jerusalem mayoral candidate Meir Porush. In the incident, four haredi men were detained for questioning after they were caught with forged election-monitor identification cards. The cards allow the holder access to sensitive material, including ballot boxes and voter registration lists. Police ascertained that one of them worked at Porush's campaign headquarters, and all four were held for questioning. Two were released after 24 hours, a Jerusalem police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, while the other two, who were allegedly more actively involved, were still being held by police on Thursday. "The four men had intended to interfere with the voting process at the polling station," a police spokesman said. There was a similar incident reported in Beit Shemesh, in which a young woman was caught using a fake ID. Other Election Day offenses kept police busy from Tiberias to Beersheba, where rocks were thrown at one polling station, lightly injuring a policeman. "There were quite a few irregularities reported," the police spokesman said. "But compared with previous elections, the number was actually relatively low." The bulk of offenses took place in Jerusalem, where the hotly contested mayoral battle brought the ongoing secular-religious divide in the capital to the fore. Fistfights, voter fraud and cases of intimidation were reported across the city. The most extreme violations, however, were scuffles that broke out in haredi neighborhoods. Other irregularities occurred in east Jerusalem, where the city's Arab population had declared a partial commercial strike in protest of the elections. Businesses were shut and police said that those who attempted to defy the protest were intimidated by organizers. "Seven residents of east Jerusalem were arrested on Salah a-Din Street for intimidating vendors into joining the strike held in protest of the democratic process," a police spokesman said.