Arieh Eldad
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

MK Eldad leaves Umm al-Fahm ballot

National Union Knesset member, sent to replace extremist Baruch Marzel at one of northern Arab city's polling stations, leaves amid riot. 'Police did their job, I never feared for my life,' he says. 'I have other ballots to visit'

National Union Knesset Member Arieh Eldad, who was set to replace extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel as head of Umm al-Fahm's Ballot 12 polling station, asked the police to escort him out of the city Tuesday, saying he had "other ballots to visit."


Eldad took over for Marzel after the police decided to prevent him from entering the northern Arab town, citing concerns for public safety and the integrity of the voting process.


Eldad arrived in the city accompanied by mass police forces. His presence in the polling station was sanctioned by the Northern District Police, but nevertheless, it caused a riot outside the polling station.


Upon leaving, a small mob began chasing the police car Eldad was in, resulting in a subsequent clash between police forces and local protestors.


"The police enabled my arrival to the polling station and are providing me with security. I never feared for my life," he told Ynet before leaving the city. "I could never truly believe that Israel was giving in to terror and I'm happy to see that this is not the case. I have immunity and the police are doing their job, at least where I am concerned," he said.


Eldad's arrival at the polling station meant the police had to reconfigure the security arrangements in the area, and all 642 people waiting to vote on the premises had to be subjected to a physical search. "This is reminiscent of Erez crossing in Gaza. This is hardily democracy," said Umm al-Fahm resident Ibrahim Jabarin.


The city's Arab leadership was less than happy with the events as well: "We were told it was over and were asked to pull out people off the streets," said Apu Agbaria, who is number four on the Hadash party's Knesset roster."We did as we were asked, and they tricked us and brought in Eldad instead of Marzel."


The police arrested five people following the riot which erupted upon Eldad's departure. The protest outside the polling station dispersed on its own due to the inclement weather.


פרסום ראשון: 02.10.09, 11:55
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