A furor erupted in the Knesset on Thursday during voting on legislation to extend government coronavirus subsidies, when it was discovered that Yamina MK Abir Kara had voted twice – once from his own computer and a second time from the computer of his fellow party member MK Idit Silman.
Once this was discovered, opposition MKs demanded that the vote be halted until the matter was investigated. The Knesset’s legal adviser then authorized a ten-minute recess while the issue was clarified. At the end of the ten minutes, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) decided to repeat the vote, and stated:
“The Knesset’s legal adviser, along with the Knesset secretariat and additional legal advisers, have examined the issue together with MK Kara and also received input from MK Ohana, and in order to preserve the legitimacy of the voting procedure, it has been decided to hold a new vote. The matter has been investigated [and it was found that] during voting, according to MK Kara’s account, he voted once in error, and immediately afterward he raised his hand and admitted that he had voted in error.”
Opposition MKs were furious at the Speaker’s decision and called for a criminal investigation to be opened into MK Kara’s conduct, with former Justice Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) saying that “this is a criminal matter, not a mistake.” He demanded that MK Kara’s voting record over the past few weeks be included in any investigation.
“There’s no way this was a mistake,” Ohana said. “If [MK Kara] had been in the wrong seat and voted from there, it might have been a mistaken, but not like this, when he voted twice!”
“I demand that the voting records from the past fortnight be checked, to see if there were other occasions when MK Kara voted twice, and I also demand that a MK from the opposition be present when the footage from the Knesset sessions is reviewed,” he added.
Opposition MKs then resolved to boycott all future votes in the Knesset plenum, and MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud) submitted an urgent complaint to the government’s legal adviser, demanding that he open an investigation into “suspected double voting on the part of MK Abir Kara.”
Meanwhile, MK Idit Silman insisted that at no time had she asked, either directly or by way of hints, for MK Kara to vote on her behalf.
MK Kara’s office issued a statement saying, “Deputy Minister MK Abir Kara mistakenly voted from the wrong computer which belonged to MK Idit Silman, and immediately admitted his mistake to the Knesset Speaker in order that the vote should be corrected.”
The Likud party also issued a statement, saying, “This corrupt government continues with its ‘no surprises’ policy. Those who stole the votes of the right wing and established a left-wing government with the support of anti-Zionists are now stealing votes in the plenum.”