Beit Shemesh: Has The Fat Lady Sung?

Frankly, Beit Shemesh cannot compete with the neck-and-neck US elections of 2000 - between Bush & Gore.

For an election by over 100,000,000 US voters to be decided by just 537 solitary votes in Florida, was astounding. A statistical and historical feat which cannot be repeated. It took from the election date of 7th November to the final Supreme Court decision on 12the December for the final result, the Bush victory, to be absolutely final.

However, that unprecedented 2000 US election aside, the Beit Shemesh municipal elections are probably the most contentious I have known.

The municipal elections were on 22nd October and two weeks later, no-one knows if the game in Beit Shemesh is over, with just 930 votes separating the election day victor Moshe Abutbol, from contender Eli Cohen.

Beit Shemesh' equivalent to the hanging, dimpled, or pregnant chad of the malfunctioning voting machines in Florida - is election fraud.

For example, there were over 800 invalidated voting slips - allegedly due to deliberate tampering.

Many recorded cases of duplicate voters - people who arrived at the voting station and were amazed to be told by election officials "you have already voted, good bye!"

Votes were also allegedly cast by dead people and absent people.

Buildings were stuffed with more registered voters than could possibly live there.

And, to cap it all, the extensively publicised case of over 200 fraudulent ID cards, found in two apartments and a vehicle on election day in Beit Shemesh.

Whereas some of these alleged incidents may have been spontaneous, others were too extensive and sophisticated, and clearly required organizational structures, chains of command, and money.

With the publication of the gagged details of the arrests in Beit Shemesh, the picture is becoming clearer that an organized mafia was apparently running the election fraud campaign.

The cliche rule is to follow the money, and at the street price of 300 NIS per ID card for 250 cards is a neat 75,000 NIS. That's just for one aspect of what seems to have been a far wider scam. Such money is not from individual enthusiasts - but is campaign money.

Shaya Brand, Yakov Porush (son of MK Meir Porush), David Tefilinski are listed amongst the suspects. These are "machers" who hustle around the elected officials and run the political party Koach.

What is even more disturbing to me than the mafiosa, a la Chicago, who appear to be running the upper echelons of Beit Shemesh, is the religious garb of the alleged crimes.

A low-point in the elections was a "Kol Korei" rabbinical announcement demanding that the the faithful vote for Moshe Abutbol, and one of the chareidi parties "Chen", in return for blessings, while cursing-out ("poresh min hatzibur"- loosely "traitor") anyone who didn't vote or God forbid, voted for another candidate or party.

Big name national rabbonim appear as signatories, and numerous local rabbonim also. 

(Perhaps the national rabbonim never saw or signed this document...). 

Overlooked at the time, was that this Kol Korei, which undoubtedly influenced wavering voters to vote for Moshe Abutbol, was in contravention of the Election Law, Section 122.

This section explicitly forbids persuading voters by offering blessings and dispensing curses.

It also carries a five year prison sentence for anyone who breaks this law.

Whereas this may sound excessive, the reasoning behind it is to avoid rabbonim from issuing fatwas and Israeli elections becoming jihads. Once a specific candidate or party is standing in the Name of God, campaigning can become a dangerous crusade and deeply corrupted. 

As indeed seems to have happened in Beit Shemesh.

The Kol Korei was mass-distributed door to door in Beit Shemesh, was proudly hung up in synagogues, and was published in a local "newspaper" Chadash. The Kol Korei was an official propaganda document in the Moshe Abutbol/Chen election campaign.

It is very unclear if there is enough objective evidence to force a re-vote - as there are few precedents for this in Israel. This will become clearer after the Election Committee of the Knesset reviews the Beit Shemesh elections next week.

At this stage, the Fat Lady Hasn't Sung. 

However, if the mafia was toppled in Chicago by a bust for tax evasion, perhaps the alleged mafia in Beit Shemesh could be toppled, by enforcing Election Law, Section 122. 


  1. Please note the elections were on Oct. 22nd.

    1. Thanks for picking up on that - fixed it!

  2. Remember that an empty vote is also invalid. The claim that 600 Eli Cohen votes were invalid is probably not correct. It's just that in kalpiyot where Eli Cohen got most of the votes, there were 600 invalid votes. big difference

  3. The 800 ballets, whose name were they?
    There was a kol koreh in dati leumi synagogues saying to vote for Eli Cohen and it was signed by dati leumi rabbis around here. Sounds like the kettle calling the pot black.
    I hope when they determine next week that the fraud was not systemic to teh elecions or anyone party, people like your self, apologize to the mayor and parties whom u accused of criminal activities. That is slander and libel in the legal sense. In your previous posts you accuse them quite squarely of that.
    Innocent until proven guilty even if by turkish and british law

    1. 1. 800 Ballots - currently locked up in a safe. They apparently were mainly from Eli-areas, but the final analysis has not been done.

      2. Dati Leumi Kol Korei - this was written as an endorsement of a candidate (we believe that this candidate is the most qualified for the position). This is 100% legal. The Abutbul Kol Korei was promising blessings and intimidating with curses. 100% illegal.

      3. The criminal courts will decide whether to proceed with charging suspects. This process will not be completed anytime soon. The civil process will need to move faster, due to the practicalities of accepting/rejecting the election results. The criminal and civil courts require different levels of evidence and proof.

      4. Libel & slander - I would be flattered if the Moshe Abutbol team would chose to sue Tzedek-Tzedek, along with Haaretz, YNet, Maariv, JPost et al and the TV & Radio stations - who have all reported the same basic facts of this case.

  4. Enough already with all of your garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop all the anti chareidi slander, live with the loss and for gid sake don't take a local chillul hashem that's bad enough and make it national or international, as some of u faithfully did with the Orot Banot issues to further your poilitical propaganda. Im really sickened already,

    1. I am sorry you are so upset. A lot of us are.

      Many people are upset at the alleged criminality and immorality of the election in Beit Shemesh.

      You seem upset the crimes have been exposed.

      Live with it. And learn from it.

  5. I don't see what impact the law prohibiting offering blessings,etc., can have on changing the results of the elections. That is a criminal manner re: the Rabbonim, but there is no way to determine how many votes were changed because of the Kol Korei.

    1. Hi DLZ
      There are two tracks:
      1. Criminal - which requires beyond-all-reasonable-doubt proof for a conviction - and typically years of legal process.
      2. Civil - such as for declaring an election re-vote. Here the levels of proof are (I understand) typically 51% - more likely than not. Or "preponderance of evidence".

      Therefore by illustrating that there was a pattern of deceit, this can show that there were "probably" more such cases.

      Use of a (allegedly) criminal Kol Korei using blessing/curses needs to be shown to 'probably' have effected voters. One could show that, for example, by the amount of money/resources the campaign spent on publicising the document. They clearly thought it would 'probably' win them a large number of votes. Not one or two. Hundreds.

    2. Wow never knew that it was illegal. But thought it's been done everywhere for every election already. In which case why would it be more meaningful in Bet Shemesh?

  6. I think the irony is amazing: the Chareidim were ready to lie, cheat and steal so that a non-religious guy wouldn't win because they don't think he keeps halacha properly!

  7. Just a thought:

    If the elections were to be repeated, would the results differ?

    Presumably, the group who voted multiple times and with stolen/bought/forged identities would not participate. But, the garden variety cheating - marking, folding, or outright stealing the Eli or other party slips may still occur. The kol korei mentality would likely still be there. And, there would be an added layer of zeal as various Shas politicians and Chareidi rabbis spin the situation as "they" being unwilling to acknowledge that "we" won.

  8. David,
    Haaetz and the others didnt outright accuse Abutbol and his followers and use the word alleged. You in your previous posts make it out to be fact.
    I dont know too many charedim taht voted abutbol because they might have been cursed. That is plain insulting to the hareidi world. Tehy voted Abutbol because they feel he is best for their agenda.
    DL voted Eli Cohen because they wanted to stop Haredim-Thats called discrimination!
    Lets face it, The police and supreme court are definitely not pro hareidi so if there is dirt to be found, they will find it.
    So, lets see what happens and may the chips fall where they may....................

  9. If there is another election, I hope they make a rule that the only voters eligible are those who held Beit Shemesh residency at the time of the election.

    Otherwise, everyone and his brother will change their residency to Beit Shemesh. (Who knows how many did so BEFORE this election as well. Perhaps on of the things the police could look into is whether there was a surge in the numbers of people who became residents of Beit Shemesh in the month or two prior to the election.)

  10. David I am only writing do to the overwhelming morons who responded. As a person whose sons have had 3 meter metal fences surrounding their school, rocks thrown over said fence from the holy souls attending said schools I would like the readers who are so adoring to the Mayor take a good long look at the mirror. Noone caused a Chillul Hashem with Orot EXCEPT for the offending attackers and those who dress like them and stayed silent. Why didn't we see a Kol Korei about that? Why weren't rabbonim brought in for that? Just because drops are falling doesn't mean its rain. Sometimes its the animal who wears a costume expounding how holy he is spitting at you. You don't like the perception? Be mature and change the facts on the ground! Be good and friendly neighbors. Be concerned about other people. All of Israel davened for 4 naive souls in Japan. Would you have done the same for someone else? Grow up already and stop acting like brats!

  11. Michael,
    Maybe we better have an extraterristrial lookout on the hilltops because maybe bodysnatchers are going to invade and try to force people to vote abutbol.
    Did everyone hear that the mayor was part of the kennedy conspiracy? Also the mayor was involved inthe french revolution. He also caused the bubonic plague in the middle ages. Cant we stop him somehow before he brings world calamity?
    Sarcasim yes, needed because of the paranoia going on..............................

    1. Which sound the most probable conspiratorial partners: Abutbol and Lee Harvey Oswald? Abutbol & Marie Antoinette? Abutbol & King Richard I ; Abutbol and Tefilinski/Brand/Porush??

  12. You don't mention the schools getting involved, including this one that helped coordinate its students working for one party as a group (and I wonder in which city):


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