Daily Israel Report

Second MK Suspected of Buying Votes

A senior Likud MK is suspected of having paid for votes. The MK calls suspicions ‘absurd.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/27/2013, 9:55 AM

Counting votes (archive)
Counting votes (archive)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Just days after it was revealed that MK Nissan Slomiansky of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party is suspected of vote-buying in the party primaries, it has been revealed that a senior Likud MK is suspected of the same offense.

Avichai Amrussi, who sells votes, allegedly said in taped conversations that the Likud MK had purchased votes from him during the Likud primaries.

The identity of the MK in question has not been made public. In a statement, he called the allegations “absurd,” adding, “I did not buy support from Amrussi.”

Amrussi and other vote sellers are in contact with groups of people who they can convince to vote for a particular candidate or party in exchange for explicit or implicit reward. In relatively small-scale elections such as party primaries, their activity can determine the outcome of the vote.

Some Israeli pollsters, including Professor Avi Degani and Mina Tzemach, have stopped predicting the results of primaries due to the vote-buying phenomenon, which they say makes it impossible to accurately predict the outcome.

Sources in the Jewish Home party suspect that the leak regarding the investigations into Slomiansky began with a police source with a malicious agenda.

“The timing of the leak was deliberate,” a senior source told Arutz Sheva. “It is an attempt to sabotage the negotiations between Likud and the Jewish Home.”

Speaking immediately before reports of the allegations against a Likud MK, the source added, “It’s saddening, and bizarre, that the Likud is rejoicing over the publication of this affair... and criticizing religious Zionism. Those in the Likud are the last who can talk about clean politics.”

MKs in the Jewish Home have given Slomiansky their support. Party head Naftali Bennett called Tuesday for MKs to support each other as long as the investigation is ongoing, while MK Uri Ariel, number two on the party list, said Wednesday that he believes the allegations are baseless.

“As someone who’s known Slomiansky for years, I’m convinced that there’s nothing to these suspicions,” he told Channel 10. “I hope the police will investigate this matter as quickly as possible and come to a decision. I believe he is innocent, and support him 110%.”