Israel Election News 2/13/19

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Due to Suspected Vote Tampering, Likud Recounts Primary Voting Results, Changes Expected to the List for Knesset

The Likud Elections Committee ruled on Tuesday that the ballot for the party’s primary elections required a recount after several complaints of tampering were submitted. The committee ruled that the recount would be done in front of overseers and screened on videos for the party members to see.

The votes from all ballot boxes were recounted on Wednesday, and after 390 of 587 boxes were counted, it seemed as if there would be a few changes to the list of candidates that was publicized and the rankings of various Likud members on that list. Edelstein still held the first spot followed by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, but the third spot now seemed as if it would go to former Likud member and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar. If this should hold true, then Sa’ar would jump over Ministers Miri Regev and Gilad Erdan, both of whom came ahead of him in the original counting.

Yariv Levin, Nir Barkat, Yoav Galant, Avi Dichter, and Gila Gamliel would close out the top ten.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said regarding the irregularities that appeared during the initial counting that: “What’s important is that there was oversight. The Likud is a democratic party.”

Yisrael Beitenu Party Using Death Penalty Issue In Election Campaign

Yisrael Beitenu, the party headed by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has six seats in the outgoing Knesset. According to the latest Channel 13 News poll, the party would receive only four seats in Knesset elections, if held today.

Lieberman, a seasoned politician, is keenly aware of the polls and the fact that his party is hovering around the minimum threshold, which means he may not be in the next Knesset.

His party has released an election campaign video that targets Naftali Bennet, Ayelet Shaked and PM Netanyahu, all for opposing efforts to pass a law demanding the death penalty for terrorists. He explains that only his party remains committed to pushing the law and he will do so in the upcoming 21st Knesset.

Many are opposed to such a law, particularly senior security establishment officials, who remain well-aware what kind of impact the passing of such a law would have on prisoners of war and captives.

Israel’s Central Election Committee Prohibits PM/DM Netanyahu From Using IDF Soldiers In Election Adverts

The Labor Party petitioned the Central Election Committee, seeking a decision to prohibit the Likud party and/or Prime Minister/Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from using IDF soldiers in any election campaign adverts.

The Central Election Committee responded, barring the use of soldiers in election campaigns temporarily until the matter is discussed in a hearing on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

Smotrich To Bennet: You Left The Religious Zionism

Chairman of the Ichud Leumi party, MK Betzalel Smotrich, sent a message to the chairman of the New Right party, Minister Naftali Bennet, telling him “You are not religious Zionism as you left religious Zionism”.

Smotrich referred to the talks with the chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, as the two are trying to unite prior to the April 9, 2019 elections for 21st Knesset.

Smotrich added, “My message is that we will run together with Bayit Yehudi. We will go together with Otzma Yehuda as well, and Eli Yishai. We do not have the privilege to check the tzitzis of another. I have and will continue to make concessions because unity is more important”.

Smotrich turned to Bennet saying, “My dear friend, you are not the religious Zionism because you left religious Zionism. If he wishes to return, Naftali, he is invited to do so and knock on the door and we will weigh his return”.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)