Hadash Demands Criminal Probe into Likud’s Election Day Spying

Hadash has demanded that the head of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and the acting chief of Israel Police Motti Cohen, open a criminal investigation against the governing far-right Likud party over illegal activities it organized and conducted during the voting for the 21st Knesset earlier this month.

On Election Day, April 9, a reported 1,200 Likud mercenaries entered polling centers in Arab towns with hidden cameras. The Likud has admitted it was behind the scheme, which party officials said was designed “to counter alleged voter fraud in high-risk areas.”

One of some 1,200 miniature cameras smuggled into polling stations in Arab communities by paid Likud observers during April 9's elections for the 21st Knesset

One of some 1,200 miniature cameras smuggled into polling stations in Arab communities by paid Likud observers during April 9’s elections for the 21st Knesset (Photo: Hadash)

In his letter of response, Justice Melcer wrote that police will gather all the evidence received by the use of the cameras — consistent with certain, unspecified restrictions — and decide whether the recordings stored on them require further action.

Incoming Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman sent a letter last week to Attorney General Mandelblit, demanding he facilitate the collection of the cameras and any recorded material on them by law enforcement agencies, and accusing Justice Melcer of issuing a problematic directive on the day of the elections, while voting was still going on, when he called for the cameras be returned to the Likud activists, provided that they be handed over to the police if a complaint was filed.

Touma-Sliman wrote she believes any delay in the collection of the cameras and the material they recorded constitutes a violation of privacy and compromises vital evidence. She demanded that the cameras be collected as part of an investigation to be launched by Mandelblit into the involvement of the Likud and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the placement of the cameras in the polling centers which, Touma-Sliman maintains, was a blatant attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the Arab community’s citizenship.

Kaizler Inbar, an Israeli public relations firm, admitted last week that it had worked closely with the Likud to equip election observers at polling stations in Arab towns with cameras, and contended with pride that they were responsible for low Arab voter turnout on election day, bragging that it was “the lowest seen in recent years!”