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      MK Dov Lipman: Beit Shemesh Must Redo Municipal Elections

      MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), a Beit Shemesh resident, believes that the issue is not anti-hareidi but a matter of truth and lies.
      By Tova Dvorin
      First Publish: 10/30/2013, 10:29 PM

      MK Lipman addresses Knesset
      MK Lipman addresses Knesset
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) a Beit Shemesh resident, has made a statement declaring that at this point, the path is clear: Beit Shemesh needs to hold new municipal elections. 

      In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Lipman stated that "it's not about opinions or claims anymore. Today we have witnesses, we have evidence of election fraud, and police are very seriously investigations allegations of counterfeit votes. There's a general feeling in our city that the elections have somehow been stolen from us, that there is no democracy, and it is responsibility of the State to ensure that every citizen is a part of the democratic process." 

      Lipman holds that this is not a war between hareidi Jews and non-hareidi Jews, or even Orthodox and Secular Jews, but a struggle for truth.

      "The Hareidi and secular populations can work together, and if it is revealed after new [fair] elections that [incumbent mayor] Moshe Abutbul still wins, he will be everyone's leader. Except for the extremists, most hareidim get along with the secular population, and vice versa. Unfortunately, during the elections process the hareidi population approached it as a religious war of sorts, and that is a lie." 

      Lipman adds that defeated mayoral candidate Eli Cohen is a "traditional man, and yesterday [Tuesday] during the protest, he put a kippa (yarmulke) on his head." Lipman was referring to the mass protest which took place last night outside the Beit Shemesh municipality, with thousands of residents and members of the press in attendance, to protest what many have seen as an unfair election process after allegations of voter fraud have been levied against incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul (Shas). 

      Lipman also believes that hundreds of votes for Eli Cohen may have been disqualified in addition to the allegations of outright voter fraud. "The vote for Abutbul was determined with only 1000 votes. Over 200 fake identity cards have been found which were used for an Abutbul vote, and residents showed up to vote and were told that their vote had already been cast," Lipman said. "Hundreds of ballots for Cohen were found to have been ripped up by ballot-counters [. . .] the picture here is pretty clear." 

      Lipman also said that Beit Shemesh is trying to take legal action on the issue. "We are ready to pressure Minister of the Interior Gideon Saar to champion a new municipal election for us - and if we have to take this to the Supreme Court, we will."