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Attorney General Asks Court to Order New Elections in Beit Shemesh

There is a glimmer of hope in fighting corrupt elections in Israel, which is no worse than anywhere else but simply more obvious.
Beit Shemesh residents demonstrate outside the Beit Shemesh municipality as mayor Moshe Abutbul holds a council meeting .

Beit Shemesh residents demonstrate outside the Beit Shemesh municipality as mayor Moshe Abutbul holds a council meeting .
Photo Credit: Flash 90

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has decided to appeal to the Jerusalem District Court for an order to annul last month’s disputed local elections in Beit Shemesh and to order a new vote.

He said that a police investigation of alleged fraudulent voting showed sufficient evidence to support charges that vote were cast by people who used identity cards of those out of the city or might not even be living. Shas Haredi religious incumbent Mayor Moshe Abutbul narrowly won the election, beating Jewish Home candidate Eli Cohen, who also is appealing to the court to cancel the election.

Police have said that their investigation has widened to include several people beyond those who were present at the raid of forged identify cards shortly before the election.

A police raid on two homes before the elections last month uncovered 250 false identification cards that people intended to use to cast extra ballots. Eight people were arrested, and police found several hats in the homes, indicating that people had intended to change their appearance to represent people who were not in the city at the time of the voting.

Supporters for Jewish Home candidate Cohen also accused Shas activists of throwing out some ballots that had been cast in favor of Cohen.

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