New Right’s Knesset hopes dashed as election fraud claims debunked

The new party’s claims of massive fraud, after failing to enter the Knesset, were discounted after the Elections Committee found only one wrongly disqualified vote.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The New Right’s hope of passing the electoral threshold, based on their claims of voting fraud, were dashed Sunday night when the Central Elections Committee (CEC) found that only one ballot slip for their party had been disqualified out of the hundreds of boxes checked.

The CEC examined the contents of some 300 boxes containing “double envelopes” as a lawful representative sampling of these kinds of votes. These are the ballots of soldiers on base, hospital patients, battered women in shelters, and Jewish Agency emissaries, diplomats and sailors who are abroad – all of whom cannot vote in their home towns.

The New Right, launched by Ministers Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, was relying especially on the soldiers’ votes, as Bennett had repeatedly vowed to “have their back” when it came to legalities in the war against terror. He had stated, for example, that “our warriors are more worried about the Military Advocate General Corps than about [Hamas leader] Yahya Sinwar in Gaza.”

Going beyond the letter of the law, CEC head Judge Hanan Meltzer allowed party representives to observe the procedure in order to counter assertions that large numbers of their votes had been thrown out.

The party had claimed that some of the vote-counting rules were not being followed with the special envelopes following the elections. For example, they alleged that some were opened while representatives from only one party were present.

The CEC angrily rejected the insinuation that voter fraud had taken place, and their sampling has proven them correct, with only one New Right vote being disqualified.

The result is that the party, with less than 1,400 votes, will not be entering the 21st Knesset.

In a letter to supporters Sunday night, Betzalel Smotrich of the United Right Wing Party (URWP) – the political home left by Bennett and Shaked – promised to speak for the 135,000-plus citizens who have now lost their legislative representatives after voting New Right.

Acknowledging that “tens of thousands” of them came from the religious, right-wing camp that makes up the URWP base, Smotrich wrote, “I want and intend to be your representative in the Knesset.”