Jerusalem – A record 20,000 uniformed and plainclothes police officers and 3,000 camera-equipped Central Elections Committee observers were deployed to Israel’s 10,700 polling stations on Tuesday as the nation went out to vote in the country’s second general election of the year.
According to a Channel 13 news report, most of the officers will wear body cameras, and observers have been instructed to notify police if anyone besides them is seen filming at polling stations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party this week lost a last-minute bid to enable party observers to film in polling stations, particularly in Arab neighborhoods.
Supporters claimed to have evidence of widespread voter fraud at voting stations in Arab neighborhoods in the April 9 election, while opponents warned that singling out Arab polling stations for surveillance would intimidate and deter those voters.
Netanyahu blasted Central Elections Committee head Hanan Melcer, a Supreme Court judge, for what he called a “scandalous” failure to prevent Arab election fraud. The Central Elections Committee said in response that police had found evidence of only minimal tampering and minor cases of abuse, and rejected allegations of widespread voter fraud.