‘An Arab Tried to Vote 8 Times'

Religious monitors fanned out throughout Arab polling stations, preventing fraud. One Arab handed out ID cards and cash; others stuffed ballots.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 2:06 AM

Michel David
Michel David
Israel News Photo

An Arab tried to vote eight times, and others attempted to corrupt voting booth monitors and youths voting with other people’s identification cards in last week's Knesset election.

Religious Jewish election monitors fanned out in Arab polling stations throughout Israel on Election Day, February 10. It was the second national election in which religious monitors made use of the parties’ right to send monitors to polling stations in order to supervise the Arab sector. Their activity is estimated to have prevented vote fraud on a massive scale.

About 200 monitors took part in the project this year in 120 Arab sector polling stations. All of the monitors hailed from the national religious camp – even the ones who had been sent by the hareidi religious United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party.

“Some of the polling stations in which we were present had a six percent voting rate, while ones which we could not reach had 60 percent rates,” said Michel David, a project organizer. “Reach your own conclusions.”

David said that on average, polling stations where religious monitors were present had voting rates of 30 percent – about half of the average rate in unmonitored Arab polling stations. The explanation, he says, is simple: Arabs stuff the ballots whenever this is possible for them, thus skewing election results to the Left and Arab parties.

The polling supervision project is a brainchild of Michael Fuah of Likud’s Jewish Leadership faction. Likud’s MK Michael Eitan was instrumental in hiring buses to transport the monitors to and from the stations.

Handing out ID cards, cash
“In many places where the monitors were active, the actual voting was less than 30 percent, and then the Arabs tried to ‘reach the quota’ of 60 percent, David said. "They were even willing to add a few Likud votes into the mix so that our guys would remain silent, but we refused and foiled the scheme.”

In one station, a person stood outside the voting booth and gave money, as well as a blue ID card to whoever entered. A complaint was filed to the police.

The record for multiple votes by one person was in a village in central Israel, where an Arab tried to vote eight times by entering the booth with eight different keffiyehs on his head. The monitors prevented the fraud.

At another station, the chairman waited until the monitor went outside for a minute. He then added fake votes to the voter book and stuffed some empty envelopes into the ballot box. Later, during the vote count, he filled the envelopes with Kadima voting slips.

Near Rahat in the Negev, a large number of men arrived, accompanied by veil-wearing women. Only their eyes showed, and they refused to answer questions from the observers who suspected that some of them had already voted.

An 18-year-old with six children
A young woman who looked like 18 years old presented an ID card that belonged to a 50-year-old woman with more than six children. The monitor prevented her from voting. In some places, the monitors complained to the station supervisors, who were Jewish, but the supervisors refused to take action against the Arabs and said “this is the tradition here.” Complaints were filed against those supervisors.

In another place, a Jewish supervisor was coaxed into leaving the booth during the vote count and was replaced by an Arab.

The monitors had praise for the police, who were present in relatively large numbers in most stations.