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      Arabs Riot in Umm El-Fahm. MK Eldad Leaves Polling Station

      Ichud Leumi MK Eldad entered Umm el-Fahm to serve as poll supervisor. Arabs began rioting and MK Eldad left after an hour.
      By Gil Ronen and Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 2/10/2009, 8:54 AM

      MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad (Ichud Leumi/National Union) left the Arab Israeli town of Umm El-Fahm after monitoring at a polling station there for part of the morning. An Arab mob began rioting and threatening him outside of the station. Rocks were thrown at security forces, and shouts of "Death to the Jews!" could be heard.

      Eldad's spokeswoman Na'ama Cohen said that Eldad left because of his desire to spend the day at more strategic campaigning locations in Israel's major cities. The video below documents some of the Arab rioting at the presence of an Ichud Leumi candidate in their town.



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      Cohen said that Eldad had not planned to spend the entire day at Umm El-Fahm and that he decided to leave for other polling stations after sitting at the Umm El-Fahm station for about an hour. She said police had provided excellent protection and were not at fault.

      Police arrested five rioters.

      Crowd at Umm El-Fahm
      Israel News photo/Chizki Ezra

      MK Eldad claimed that the event was a victory for the National Union. "We proved to the Arab public that Umm El-Fahm, too, is part of the Land of Israel. There was no surrender to the Arabs." Eldad said he had coordinated with the police in advance that he would only remain at the polling station for one hour. 

      Eldad had entered the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm in the middle of Tuesday morning to act as chairman of the election committee at Polling Place #12 in the city's Arzi neighborhood. Eldad replaced Baruch Marzel, the Land of Israel activist who was prevented by police from entering the city because of threats on his life. Eldad told Ynet, "I definitely do not fear for my life."

      Eldad came to Umm el-Fahm in a police car, amid a heavy police presence. Referring to the police protection he received and the police refusal to allow Marzel into Umm el-Fahm and the protection, Eldad said, "I could not believe that the State of Israel would give in to terror and I'm glad to see that this did not happen. I have immunity and the police department is doing its job, at least for me."

      The voters at Polling Station 12 underwent bodily security checks before entering the booth in order to protect Eldad from possible attack.

      Police 'surrendered'
      In response to the police decision to block Marzel from entering the city and carrying out his duty, MK Eldad said: "The Israel Police, apparently at [Attorney General Menachem] Mazuz's instructions, surrendered this morning to the Arab terror of Israel's enemies from within. The State of Israel has announced openly that it surrenders to violence, blackmail and treachery from the Arab sector." MK Eldad said the polls in Umm el-Fahm should be closed for fear of election fraud.

      MK Eldad at the polling booth
      Naama Cohen

      Leaders of the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party called on Tuesday for polls in the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm to be closed and votes from their invalidated, following the police decision to bar Marzel from carrying out his duties as election monitor there. Party chairman Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz said his party would demand the invalidation of votes from unmonitored polling places, calling the police decision a "surrender to terror".

      The Commander of the Police's Amakim Region, Brig-Gen.Zohar Dvir, met Land of Israel activist Baruch Marzel at Barka'I Junction on Highway 65 and handed him an official letter announcing he could not enter Umm El Fahm. Police said the decision was "based upon intelligence reports of a serious danger to the public safety and in order to make it possible to hold elections properly and without disorder."

      'Black day for democracy'
      Marzel, whose faction is part of the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party, said that the decision made this day "a black day for democracy." Israeli police, he added, "are surrendering to a bunch of thugs. Today provided proof that the police do not control the Northern District. This is a shame and a disgrace." Marzel added that he would decide on legal steps as soon as he was officially informed of the police announcement.

      The police said they had intelligence of concrete plans to harm Marzel if he entered the city. Dozens of Arabs gathered at the entrance to the city from the early morning hours in order to block Marzel. They were joined by MK Muhammad Barakeh of the Communist Hadash party. A sizeable police contingent headed by the Commander of the Police's Northern District, Brig-Gen Shimon Koren was also on hand.

      The Arabs, who were led by members of Umm El-Fahm's municipality, inspected "suspicious" cars at the entrance to the city and a confrontation occurred when a car carrying religious Jewish ballot booth inspectors tried to enter. Police did not enable the Jews to enter and carry out their duty but rather whisked them away to the nearby police station.

      Arab Ra'am Ta'al Party Sends Rep to Beit El
      The Arab Ra'am Ta'al party, meanwhile, sent its own representative, as planned, to monitor the national elections in the Samarian Jewish community of Beit El.

      Ra'am Ta'al MK Ahmed Tibi had previously vowed that the party would not send a representative because it does not recognize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

      Israel National News, which is based in Beit El, notes that the representative is a Jewish member of the party, and not an Arab.

      Israel National News announces all night election coverage including a live TV broadcast and an up-to-the-minute election results page.