The local elections in Beit Shemesh On Tuesday were held under the shadow of charges of fraud, highlighted by a police raid that uncovered 250 false identification cards that people intended to use to cast extra ballots, which supporters of Jewish Home candidate Eli Cohen charged were to be cast for Shas candidate Mayor Moshe Abutbul.
The raid was carried out in two Beit Shemesh homes by police, who had advanced information, said Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino. 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.
Shas incumbent Abutbul won re-election in the hotly contest in a city that has suffered escalating violence and tensions between national religious and Haredi religious communities.
Last week, officials of the Interior Ministry told a Knesset hearing that it stopped a scheme for non-residents to vote in the Beit Shemesh election.
After Tuesday’s raids, Interior Minster Gideon Sa’ar that once the controversial bio-metric identification card system is introduced in all of Israel, phony IDs will be a thing of the past.
Supporters for Jewish Hone candidate Cohen were not satisfied that the police raid prevented fraud, and they accused Shas activists of throwing out some ballots that had been cast in favor of Cohen.