Computer Election Day Bugs Give Likud Black Eye

Netanyahu urges Likud members to go to the polls to nominate Likud MKs, but colossal foul-ups leave long lines of frustrated Likudniks.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Likud supporter arrives in Jerusalem to vote
Likud supporter arrives in Jerusalem to vote
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Likud is suffering a black eye on primaries Election Day due to colossal computer foul-ups, leaving long lines of frustrated Likud members. Hundreds of others have simply given up and returned back home or to work.

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar urged officials to halt the election process. He wrote on his Facebook page, “Stop the elections now and hold them on a new date to be determined.”

Other Likud leaders said the closing time for the polls should be extended from the current 10 p.m. deadline.

A Likud spokeswoman told AFP shortly after noon that many of hitches "have been fixed."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cast his ballot in Givat Ze’ev in northern Jerusalem. "I call on Likud members to come to the celebration of democracy in the Likud, the largest party, the ruling party," he said in a statement.

The party’s 123,000 registered members are casting votes in for party candidates ahead of a general election on January 22.

Analysts are keen to see if the party tilts further to the right in response to public disaffection over a truce deal which on Wednesday ended Israel's eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza terrorists, halting plans for a major ground operation.

The main issue likely to be revealed by the ballot is the strength of the Likud’s strongly nationalist lobby that wants the government to adopt the recommendations of the Levy Report. It was written by three legal experts who determined that the term “occupation” is a misnomer and that Jews have the legal right to live anywhere in Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is trying to persuade members to vote against the nationalist bloc, which is headed by Jewish Leadership faction chairman Moshe Feiglin.