‘Recount!’ New Right’s Bennett demands as chaos engulfs Israel’s election committee

Bennett said he wouldn’t let the election be stolen as the latest numbers show his New Right party failing to pass the electoral threshold. 

By David Isaac, World Israel Staff

Education Minister Naftali Bennett demanded a recount and said “the election can’t be stolen,” as his New Right party appeared to fall short of the minimum required votes to enter the Knesset on Thursday morning.

If the New Right does miss it will be by the narrowest of margins. According to the Ynet news site,  it’s 1,475 votes shy of passing the threshold. That threshold, which every party must pass, is 3.25 percent of the total votes counted. As it stands now, the New Right wins 3.215 percent.

The New Right’s leaders are furious, Ynet reports, claiming “someone stole the elections from the right.”

They base their accusation on reports from party volunteers, who said “very strange things are happening right now in the elections committee, someone is stealing elections from the right, they are not letting us go in and watch,” Ynet reports.

The news site says that the party’s election observers claimed that at 6:00 a.m., they were told that the votes of soldiers, which are counted after the election due to the time it takes to gather them, gave the party enough votes to enter the Knesset.

Then, “suddenly, they prevented the entry of the observers to record [the results], the website of the elections committee got ‘stuck,’ and the numbers of the New Right suddenly dropped, and the New Right didn’t make it into the Knesset,” Ynet reports. Instead, the left-wing Meretz party received an extra seat,

Israel’s Central Elections Committee says it’s looking into the “bug,” and may delay the official announcement of New Right’s fate. “We do not want to inform Bennett and Shaked that they have passed or not, and then it will turn out to be the opposite,” a committee member said, according to Ynet.

Mr. Bennett formed the New Right with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in December with the  goal of expanding their appeal beyond the narrow religious-Zionist base of the party they left, the Jewish Home.

Although the party started strong with a predicted 14 Knesset seats, its numbers dwindled over the course of the campaign. In the end, a campaign plea from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Likud was in danger of losing siphoned critical votes from the party and may in the end turn out to be what ended their hopes in the event the current numbers stand.