Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought to save his tottering government after his defense minister’s resignation, pinning his hopes on a crucial meeting Sunday with a wavering coalition ally. Netanyahu is set to meet with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who has urged the prime minister to go for early elections after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s departure last week left the government in control of just 61 out of 120 parliamentary seats. It’s not possible to govern with such a narrow coalition, which will be subject to constant pressures from its partners, Kahlon said in an interview Saturday on Hadashot News. Still, he said he would keep an open mind for Sunday’s meeting with Netanyahu. “Maybe he’ll pull a rabbit out of his hat,” Kahlon said. “Although for a long time it seems there has been no rabbit and no hat.”
Articles about voting issues in the State of Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced calls on Thursday from his coalition partners to hold an early election, a day after the defense minister’s resignation left the government with a razor-thin majority. Avigdor Lieberman quit on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s too-soft policy on cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The loss of the five seats of Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, raising the prospect that a scheduled November 2019 election would be brought forward. Lieberman’s resignation takes effect 48 hours after being handed in, which he did early on Thursday. Each coalition partner will then have the power to bring down the government.
Israel: East Jerusalem’s 360,000 residents to get just 6 polling stations in local vote | The Times of Israel
The Jerusalem municipality plans to open only six polling stations in the predominantly Arab eastern part of the city for October’s mayoral election, sparking charges that officials are trying to keep Arab residents from voting — as the eastern sector of the city has some 360,000 residents. Jewish neighborhoods, which represent most of the city’s voters, will have more than 180 stations, Haaretz reported Thursday. Each polling station in a Jewish neighborhood will serve approximately 2,000 voters, as opposed to the 40,000 voters expected to use each polling station in Arab neighborhoods. Three polling stations will be opened in the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Beit Safafa, which means that the final three stations for Arab voters, located in the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah and Jabal Mukkaber, will each serve some 80,000 residents.
Israel is on guard against hacking ahead of the next general election, one of its most senior cyber security officials said, identifying Iran as posing the greatest overall risk to the country’s cyber security. The government is bracing against the risks of fake news, possible denial of service attacks on civic institutions, or efforts to hack the correspondence of politicians or government officials in order to leak embarrassing details. “We are on the way to identifying and assisting from a distance everywhere we find or identify as a vulnerability … and make it tougher for the bad guys to hack,” Yigal Unna, head of technology at the prime minister’s cyber directorate, told a Reuters Cyber Security Summit. Since the 2016 U.S. election, Western countries have been fretting about the possibility of Russian hacking to influence their internal politics.
Fear of moderate and centrist members who have joined Likud could cause anyone who has joined the party recently to not be able to choose the party’s next Knesset list, Likud officials said Sunday. The party has embarked on a series of steps against the so-called New Likudniks, a group of centrists who want the party to become more moderate and return to values they say existed when Likud was led by then-prime minister Menachem Begin and are no longer prevalent in the party.
Israel: To avoid cyber attacks, Israel urged to manually count election results | Middle East Monitor
Israel’s National Cyber Authority is expected to recommend the manual counting of votes in future elections in order to prevent cyber attacks “following recent attempts to meddle with elections in the West,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday. Formed 18 months ago, the authority is working on a “defence plan” against possible meddling in Israeli elections through cyber attacks similar to what recently took place in the United States, France and Ukraine. The plan will recommend that votes continue to be counted manually in Israel, as they always have, even if this is an “outdated method”.
The Knesset Interior Committee unanimously passed a bill on Monday that will allow prisoners to vote in municipal elections while incarcerated. The bill, initiated by MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) and MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), is similar in its essence to the amendment bill that passed in 1986, which gave prisoners the right to vote in the general – but not municipal – election. The bill now needs to be approved by the Knesset in its first reading. The MKs explained that each citizen holds more weight in municipal elections than they do in national elections, and that the outcome has major implications on their day to day life.
Unlike the United States, which grants all its citizens the right to vote anywhere and under all circumstances, most other countries set certain limitations on the rights of their citizens to vote from abroad. Israeli law grants the ability to exercise this important democratic right only to members of its diplomatic corps and to employees of the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Federation, the Jewish National Fund and the United Israel Appeal. Still, while law enables murderers and other convicted felons serving jail terms to take part in the democratic process, the same law revokes the voting rights of students, university professors, employees of private firms, tourists and other Israelis away from their permanent places of residence on election day.
In confirmation of the Yachad – Ha’am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit accusations that Shas activists committed mass voter fraud in invalidating the two parties’ joint list ballot slips, recordings reveal Shas activists instructing how to invalidate the slips. IDF Radio on Monday morning published recordings of a Shas activist from Jerusalem guiding his friends on how to harm Yachad on elections day – Yachad wound up less than 11,000 votes short of getting past the recently raised threshold percentage. “Everyone who goes to vote – let them remove the slips of ‘ketz,’ let them put them in their pocket and put in its place Shas,” the supporter can be heard saying in the recording, referring to the letters on the slip representing Yachad.
Multiple incidents of voter fraud were reported during elections day last week – including several arrests in Arab communities. Arutz Sheva spoke to Yisrael Zelkovitz, a volunteer who served as a member of a volunteer task force funded by the Samaria Residents’ Committee at polling stations tasked with uncovering and preventing voter fraud, to find out more about what really happened on elections day. The project was funded with Likud, Jewish Home, and Yisrael Beytenu support. Zelkovitz stated that he did see incidents of voter fraud, and even caught some suspicious activity on tape – including buying votes and extortion.