Elections Head Warns Against Rumors and Conspiracy Theories

YERUSHALAYIM -
Campaign posters seen overlooking an intersection in Bnei Brak, Monday. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Jitters over the counting of votes showed on Monday as the head of Israel’s elections committee warned that delays could be exploited to challenge the legitimacy of the results.

“We are talking about a strategy that has been gaining ground for a while, and already began in the [September 2019] election campaign for the 22nd Knesset and faded, and then began again in the [April 2020] election for the 23rd Knesset, to delegitimize the election results,” Central Elections Committee director Orly Adas said in an interview with Radio 103 FM.

She said that she fears anticipated delays in finalizing the count due to pandemic exigencies and off days during Pesach festival could lead to uncertainty and suspicion.

“It can certainly be a fertile ground for disseminating all kinds of information detached from reality,” Adas said, and counseled patience during a counting process that could take several days.

She asked the public not to share in “rumors and conspiracy theories.”

There have already been signs of trouble. On Sunday, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin lambasted decisions by the committee head, Justice [Uzi] Vogelman, as “biased, one-sided and completely illogical,” citing to Kan news his barring from broadcast a stand-up comedy sketch by Prime Minister Netanyahu that was deemed election propaganda.

Asked if Likud would accept any election result, Levin said: “We have always accepted the voters’ will, and we will continue to do that.”

Adas, said she found Levin’s comments “shocking,” stressing that the committee “only operates within the boundaries of the provisions of the law, and Levin knows this.”

When asked if she saw a parallel to the post-election claims of fraud in the U.S., Adas replied, “I want to believe that we are different from the Trump campaign and that we have better things to learn from the United States rather than these terrible things.”