Israel’s Shin Bet security service assured the public Wednesday it was well prepared to thwart any foreign intervention in the country’s upcoming elections, after its director warned a world power was making such efforts. The statement followed reports that Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman recently told a closed audience that a foreign country was trying to intervene in the April elections and that operatives were trying to meddle via hackers and cyber technology. “The Shin Bet would like to make clear that the state of Israel and the intelligence community have the tools and capabilities to identify, monitor and thwart foreign influence efforts, should there be any,” it said. “The Israeli defense apparatus is able to guarantee democratic and free elections are held in Israel.” Argaman did not say for whose benefit the alleged meddling was being done. Initial reports about his comments were placed under a military gag order that was later lifted, though the naming of the country is question is still prohibited.Full Article: Israel says it can foil foreign election meddling amid scare - ABC News.
Articles about voting issues in the State of Israel.
It’s Election Day April 9 and you’re told when you come to cast your ballot, “Sorry, you don’t appear on the voter rolls – you can’t vote.” Before that you’ve been deluged by text messages from a candidate, but they’ve been sent by his rivals in the hope you’ll protest the annoyance by voting against. The next day, the Central Elections Committee says it’s having trouble collecting the results. These things may not happen when Israelis go to the polls, but the odds are growing that at least some of them will. More than at any time in the past, Israel’s election system is exposed to a cybersecurity risk during the campaigning, including the process of vote counting. The Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies has crafted a study noting the likely threats based on the experience of other countries’ elections in recent years and suggests steps Israel can take to prevent them.Full Article: The main cyber threats against Israel's upcoming election - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com.
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.”Full Article: Israel's Netanyahu Struggles to Stave Off Election Pressure - Bloomberg.
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.Full Article: Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits | Reuters.
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.Full Article: East Jerusalem's 360,000 residents to get just 6 polling stations in local vote | The Times of Israel.
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.Full Article: Tel Aviv - Israel Eyes Measures To Prevent Election Cyber Sabotage.
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.Full Article: Likud to lengthen waiting period for voting - Israel News - Jerusalem Post.
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”.Full Article: To avoid cyber attacks, Israel urged to manually count election results – Middle East Monitor.
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.Full Article: Committee approves prisoner voting rights in local elections - Israel News - Jerusalem Post.
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.Full Article: Will Israelis living overseas gain right to vote?.
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.Full Article: Shas Activists Caught on Tape Guiding Voter Fraud - Inside Israel - News - Arutz Sheva.
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.Full Article: An Insider Tells All on Voter Fraud - Inside Israel - News - Arutz Sheva.
Mousa Abu Maria’s vote will be counted in today’s Israeli elections — but he won’t step foot in a polling station. Instead, the 36-year-old Palestinian activist has asked an Israeli to cast a ballot for the party he thinks will fight for Palestinian rights: the Joint List, the preferred choice among many Palestinian citizens of the state. “Palestine is still under Israeli occupation; that should mean I have the right to vote. I don’t have my own country and Israel still controls everything. Israel has control of our life,” Abu Maria, who lives in the West Bank town of Beit Ommar and does not hold Israeli citizenship, told the Star. Ofer Neiman, an Israeli freelance translator who lives in Jerusalem, is casting his ballot for Abu Maria. He said he chose to give his vote in protest of what he views as undemocratic elections.Full Article: Israeli activists vote on behalf of Palestinians who can’t | Toronto Star.
Israel’s election commission chief on Tuesday barred Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from broadcasting new appeals to his followers for their support as Israelis cast ballots in a surprisingly close election that threatens to unseat the prime minister. The commission ruled that a broadcast appeal – Netanyahu had planned two television interviews – would violate the country’s ban on political ads on election day. The rejection came as officials reported that turnout by 4 p.m., at 45.4 percent, was lagging slightly behind the rate of the election in 2013. Polls remain open until 10 p.m. In a last-minute video appeal to supporters on his Facebook page, Netanyahu warned that “the rule of the right is in danger” and that “Arab voters are going in droves to the polls” in buses provided by leftist groups. “Go to the polls, bring your friends and family, vote Likud to close the gap,” he said.Full Article: Netanyahu’s last-minute appeal for votes is blocked as Israelis cast ballots | Miami Herald Miami Herald.
Polling stations only close at 10:00 pm, but several parties have already filed complaints to the Central Elections Committee (CEC) over allegations of fraud Tuesday – just halfway through election day. Yisrael Beytenu has filed a complaint, representatives stated to the press, after a number of party representatives were allegedly attacked during the voting process. In one incident, the chairman of Yisrael Beytenu’s Nazareth chapter was attacked at the polling station; local police rushed to the scene to break up the fight. In Arab-majority Baka Al Gharbia, Kafr Kara, and Sakhnin, party representatives were prevented from voting by the crowd.Full Article: Haredi, Arab Sectors Report Ballot Problems - Inside Israel - News - Arutz Sheva.
A trickle of Israelis living abroad has begun arriving in Israel in the days prior to Tuesday’s election, in order to cast ballots for the next Knesset. Unlike the United States, which allows its expatriate community abroad to vote in local, state and national elections, Israelis residing outside of the Jewish state are legally barred from exercising their sovereign franchise. Martin Berger of Brighton, England, is one of them. A sales manager for a media company, he first came to Israel in 1988 as part of a crew filming a movie about the 40th anniversary of Israel’s founding. While he never resided here full time, he obtained citizenship and visits Israel on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once every two weeks.Full Article: Some Israelis living abroad are flying home to cast ballots - Israel Elections - Jerusalem Post.
As an Arab living in Israel, Ayman Odeh never had the brightest of political futures. His fellow Arab politicians, divided among four parties with radically different ideologies, have always squabbled too much to be counted as a real force. But now Mr Odeh could be on the verge of a major breakthrough, as the top candidate on a united list for all the Arab parties for next Tuesday’s general election. The list, which could give Israel’s Arab population unprecedented political clout, was born of necessity after Right-wingers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, raised the threshold for representation from two to 3.25 per cent, thus threatening small Arab parties with electoral oblivion.Full Article: Israel election: Arab parties unite into potent force - Telegraph.
Israel is getting ready for the big day: On March 17th, citizen residents in Israel will vote for the 20th Knesset since the country’s founding. Then, the politicians we see every night on TV will go head to head for 120 Knesset seats. … Each citizen has one vote. Unlike other democracies, this vote is not given to a candidate, but to a list. And this list is either a political party or a union of parties, such as for example the Zionist camp that unified Zipi Livni’s HaTnua and Avoda, the Labour Party. … Anyone with Israeli citizenship and over the age of 18 is eligible to vote: So that’s Arabs, Druze, Christians and Jews alike. People in prison or who currently do their army service are also eligible to vote. However, this does exclude most of the inhabitants of East Jerusalem who only have a permanent residency and not an Israeli ID. This is due to the difficult status of East Jerusalem. Israeli citizens can’t vote from abroad. You just have to ensure you’re in Israel on election day. That is, apart from diplomats and Israeli embassy staff based abroad. These people vote at the earlier date of March 5th to ensure their votes arrive in Israel to be counted on election day. It is debatable, but many parties and politicians think that you need to live in Israel to influence its future because it is much too easy to sit thousands of miles away and make a decision that probably won’t influence your life.Full Article: Part II: What happens to my VOTE - Israeli Elections 101.
A political sideshow for much of the past six decades, Israel’s Arab minority is hoping to gain much-needed muscle after next week’s parliamentary election, with four Arab parties uniting under one banner for the first time. Surveys show the Joint Arab List could even finish third in the vote and become a factor in the coalition-building that dominates Israeli politics, where no party has ever won a parliament majority. Many in the Arab community, which makes up 20 percent of Israel’s eight million population, see the newfound unity as a breakthrough in battling discrimination and gaining recognition. Though they have full and equal rights, Arab Israelis often say they are treated as second-class citizens.Full Article: United Arab party a surprise new force in Israeli election | Reuters.
hile politicians still have two nearly weeks to win over prospective constituents at home, Israeli officials serving abroad will already have their say Wednesday, officially kicking off elections for the 20th Knesset. Some 6,250 representatives in over 98 missions across the world are eligible to cast their vote, from Amman to El Salvador to Ghana. Overseas voting will begin Wednesday night and will take place over the course of 36 hours, given differing time zones between countries. Israeli representatives at the consulate in Wellington, New Zealand, will be the first to vote, with ambassador Yosef Livneh expected to submit the first ballot. The final vote will be held at the Israeli mission in San Francisco.Full Article: Vote to begin at Israeli missions abroad | The Times of Israel.