“This is one of the problems inherent to the primary process, to my dismay it has reached us as well,” Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday in response to allegations that a vote contractor recruited thousands of people to vote for Knesset Member Nissan Slomiansky in the party's primary in exchange for payment to a synagogue with which he was affiliated.
Earlier, it was reported that the National Fraud Investigations Unit
(NFIU) suspected involvement of a second person, an associate of MK Slomiansky. The allegations were first exposed in Yedioth Ahronoth.
“Over a half year ago,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook
page, “anyone who wanted to join the party registered online, or by filling out forms at a price of NIS 40 (about $10). This was all fine. Then during the registration period, we learned that the process might be tainted, and there were illegal vote contractors, operating on a large scale.”
MK Bennett stated, “What is an illegal vote contractor?
A person who registers dozens, hundreds or thousands of registrants, without their having any knowledge of the party. They serve as yes men and do as the contractor says.
"At times he pays for their registration. It is an illegal act that corrupts the party. Instead of reflecting the desire of the public, the contractor gives immense power to a small number of people,” the party chairman wrote.
After receiving information on the suspicions, Bennett said he ordered a thorough check of the issue with the ‘ballot lobbyists.’
“The examination focused on the purity of the registration,” Bennett said. “As a result of this check, we did indeed disqualify thousands of illegal forms, by way of the registration committee.
In other words, we succeeded in finding thousands of illegitimate registrants and after a thorough investigation, they were disqualified by the authorized body," he said.
added that he is “proud of the actions we took to ensure the purity of the elections and the movement. Because of our response, the registration remains unblemished. It is an unpleasant story, but part of public activity is to act against unwanted phenomena.
"When I say ‘something new is beginning,’ it means that we will not remain silent in the face of unwanted events. At Habayit Hayehudi,
we must not allow this to happen.”
Bennett also requested that “members be given full support,” for as long as the police investigation continues.
According to Bennett, “The findings and information were passed on to the authorities about a half year ago, with this we completed our job. Monday it was published that a police investigation had been initiated. I do not know why this came up now.”