Video Shows Israel's Justice Minister May Have Just Broken Election Campaign Laws

A video showing Ayelet Shaked promoting her preferred candidate for Tel Aviv mayor at the polling station was removed from her Twitter account after a few hours. The explanation? It was an 'unintentional mistake'

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File photo: Ayelet Shaked speaks at a conference, October 2018.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked apparently violated the law on Tuesday while voting near her Tel Aviv home. She was filmed at the polling station by her assistant, holding up the voting slip with her preferred candidate’s name and symbol on it before placing it in the ballot box.

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The law on local government elections states clearly that it is illegal to conduct any campaigning, “in writing, verbally or in any other manner, in the polling place or within a distance of less than 25 meters from the polling place,” and that the punishment for this can be six months in prison or a fine.

A few hours after the clip was posted to Shaked’s Twitter account, it was removed.

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Facing the camera, Shaked said she was voting for “Believers in this city,” the city council slate of Chaim Goren, the Tel Aviv representative of her Habayit Hayehudi party.

“I warmly recommend to everyone not to surrender to the contractors of incitement of the other parties, like Meretz – don’t believe the stupidity they are telling you. The person who heads this party is Chaim Goren. Come here Chaim,” says Shaked, calling Goren, who is standing to the side and joins her in the clip. “A good man and honest, not a liar like the others,” she adds, placing her envelopes in the ballot box as the camera rolls.

After joining Shaked in the clip, Goren says, “We believe in this city, friends, everyone vote ‘Gav’ [the symbol of Goren's list].”

After the video was posted, MK Miki Rosenthal (Zionist Union) filed a complaint against Shaked with the Central Elections Committee and the attorney general. “It is unreasonable for the justice minister to ignore the law and trample it,” a spokesman said on behalf of Rosenthal.

In response, Shaked’s office said: “Minister Shaked did not know it violated the election campaign law. The minute it was made clear that this was forbidden, [Shaked] removed the video from social networks and apologized for the unintentional mistake.”

In a related incident on Tuesday, MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) also filmed herself conducting what was apparently illegal campaigning inside a polling station.

Nahmias-Verbin posted pictures to her Twitter account of her standing behind the curtain in the voting booth, holding the voting slips for Tel Aviv mayoral candidate Ron Huldai and for his city council slate. She wrote: “I've had no hesitation and know who I support, but nonetheless, as on every Election Day, I was excited to vote for Ron Huldai and his party. A wonderful city with real leadership.” After an hour, the tweet was deleted.

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