Netanyahu: Arabs stole the last elections and it could happen again

The prime minister slammed the Central Elections Committee for not meeting with him to discuss the forgeries he says led to the Likud being unable to form a government.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Central Elections Committee (CEC) head Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer Sunday for refusing to meet with him to discuss the alleged forgeries in Arab sector polling places during the April elections and said it could happen again on Tuesday.

“I don’t understand how the judge can refuse to listen to the prime minister,” Netanyahu told reporters in the Knesset. “We’re talking about the purity of elections, about democracy. What is democracy if not the will of the majority?”

According to the prime minister, if it were not for the election wrongdoing, the Likud would have gained enough mandates to form a government, obviating the need for Tuesday’s elections.

In a 4-1 vote the elections committee presidency had decided on Monday not to delve into the issue, giving as its reason the tight timetable before tomorrow’s elections and “the fact that the committee is not an investigative body and does not have the concrete authority to instruct the police” to probe into the allegations.

The statement said in its defense that both the chairman and the committee as a whole had “tried hard” to get the police and prosecutor’s office to expedite the investigations.

Netanyahu said in response, “The police sank a quarter billion shekels into idle investigations against me, but nobody checked 82 voting booths suspected of forgeries in the last elections? No one even called the representatives who sat in those polling places. What explanation can there be for this?”

The allegations of massive voting improprieties that set Netanyahu off were first publicized on Friday by Maariv reporter Kalman Liebskind.

The police, he wrote, have had in their hands for the last five months the testimonies of 407 ballot committee members about forgeries, ballot stuffing, proposed bribes and outright violence that people witnessed and experienced in voting places in the Arab sector.

Those testimonies had been passed on by the elections committee, which had received the reports from the Likud four days after April elections.

Liebskind managed to reach 82 of those who testified, and asked if the police or the elections committee had reached out to them. Eighty said “no.” Of the other two, one went to the police on Election Day to swear out a complaint, and the other had only been contacted by the police the previous week.

Liebskind said that State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan declared only last week that, acting on the election committee’s urging to probe the irregularities, the police’s investigative unit had “worked vigorously” – and the bottom line was that “We do not have data on widespread fraud in the Israeli elections.”