Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved a bill Sunday that would allow political parties to film voters at polling places on September 17th, the upcoming election day. Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party blame voter fraud in Arab communities for their failure to form a government after the April elections.
Netanyahu said last week that if it weren’t for the alleged voter fraud, the Arab party Balad would not have passed the election threshold and his right-wing bloc would have claimed 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset (Israel’s parliament). The claims of voter fraud are unsubstantiated; the Likud party has presented no evidence to back them up.
The bill comes after Israel’s Central Election Committee forbade political parties from filming polling places, and announced that it would hire inspectors equipped with body cameras to observe about 5,000 of the 10,5000 polling places in the country.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called the Likud party bill an “attack” on the Central Election Committee and said, “I humbly request efforts to discredit the bodies working to monitor the upcoming election to cease.”
For the bill to become law, it will need to pass three Knesset votes, the first of which will take place Monday.
During the April elections, an Israeli company aligned with the Likud party placed more than 1,200 cameras at Arab polling stations. The company bragged in a Facebook post that Arab voter turnout was only 50 percent, a record low. The Central Election Committee condemned the move and police confiscated dozens of cameras.