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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A new Knesset and a new police investigation

The new Knesset is barely in session, and already we have our first police investigation. Jewish Home MK Nissim Slomiansky is accused of buying votes in his party's primary election.
Slomiansky was the big winner in the November 13 Bayit Yehudi Knesset primary, receiving 18,601 of the 33,312 votes cast. He beat challengers Ayelet Shaked and Uri Orbach by a wide margin, even though they had the backing of newly elected party chairman Naftali Bennett and Slomiansky did not.
But the reports revealed that some of those votes allegedly came from vote contractors who Slomiansky paid large sums. Tapes of the vote contractors explaining how Slomiansky bribed them were submitted to police by Bennett, who hired private investigator Nisim Garameh to check whether Slomiansky was using illegal methods against him and his allies.
Vote contractor Avichai Amrusi told Garameh that he registered 4000 people in Bayit Yehudi’s membership drive. Amrusi said the costs of the membership fees totaled some NIS 60,000, but Slomiansky paid 125,000 to his yeshiva and owed him an equal amount.
“Membership drives are the time to milk politicians,” Amrusi said on the tape.
Amrusi boasted that some of the money was delivered by and some was left for him in Marlboro cigarette boxes in the back of a car in Tel Aviv. He said he was sure he would receive the rest of the money from Slomiansky because [paying for votes] is illegal and he had all the information written down about when he brought him money and how much.
Amrusi later denied his earlier comments in a video released to crisis management strategist Roni Rimon, who was hired by Slomiansky.
Former Shas Tel Aviv city councilman David Ezra also told Garameh that Slomiansky paid him NIS 100,000. He said he told the members he registered to vote for Slomiansky but he ignored Slomiansky’s request to have his loyalists support then-MK Zevun Orlev in the party leadership contest against Bennett.
And I'm sure that the fact that Slomiansky was a supporter of Orlev and not of Bennett has absolutely nothing to do with this investigation.... /sarc

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