Likud gained a seat, reaching 32, and United Torah Judaism lost one, leaving it with seven, after the Central Elections Committee took into consideration voter fraud allegations in six ballots in the north.
The committee released the official vote count overnight Tuesday, along with its findings on the alleged fraud. The change in the Knesset’s makeup does not alter the number of recommendations for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remain in place or for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to take his place.
The committee reported that its "election integrity supervisors" spread around the country, some of whom wore body cameras, along with party representatives who submitted complaints, led to the committee to examine "several cases of suspicions, backed by evidence, that there were attempts to twist the results of the eleciton at a certain ballot, while committing crimes."
Still, "there were not many cases brought to our attention with evidence, but even those lone occurrences require significant care, both on the administrative and the criminal [justice] level," the committee's 19-page report said.
The votes in three ballots in Yarka, a Druse town in the North, and one each in Sakhnin, Shfaram and Arraba, Arab towns in the North, were canceled due to credible fraud accusations amounting to over 3.25% of the votes.
One of the canceled ballots in Yarka had 595 votes in it, even though only 401 people were authorized to vote there.
In another case, a ballot committee in Yarka said that at 9 p.m. on election day, 15-20 young men ran into the room and put envelopes in the ballot box. The committee was able to identify those envelopes and remove them, counting the rest. Another ballot in Yarka had only three extra votes, which the committee decided was likely human error and decided to count it.
Yarka is home to Likud MK Petin Mulla, and the party credits its boost after the town's votes were counted to his efforts. However, Mulla is 33 on the Likud list, and remained out of the Knesset.
In Fureidis, a man came to the polling place and said that he is a Central Elections Committee observer and asked everyone to leave the room. When the ballot committee secretary opened the door, he saw the man with his pants down and holding many envelopes. The man then ran away. The ballot committee found 156 suspicious envelopes with Meretz and 74 for other parties.
Central Elections Committee committee chairman Judge Hanan Melcer had the allegations brought to the police and attorney general so they can open a criminal investigation. The attorney-general can decide whether to challenge the cancelation, which could lead to a re-vote in those ballots.
There has only been one re-vote in Israel's history, in 1988, but it took the court over two years to come to that decision, and the vote happened in 1991. The results did not change the make-up of the Knesset.