Loser in Teachers Union Election: Vote Was Corrupt

The elections for the chairmanship of the Secondary School Teachers Association were corrupt, the loser, David Friedman, said yesterday.

"If the elections were held in a fair and egalitarian manner, I would have no problem congratulating Erez," Friedman said, referring to the winner, incumbent Ran Erez. "But under the circumstances, congratulations would be a sin against the teachers. Erez was not elected democratically," Friedman said.

"Those who don't know how to dance complain that the floor is crooked," Erez responded, refuting Friedman's allegations.

After Friedman, a 32-year-old math and physics teacher from Kfar Sava, lost the election in his local branch for a spot on the organization's council, Erez is expected to be reelected chairman at the end of March for a fifth term.

Friedman said his movement will soon begin working for election to the group's central committee, which has the authority to change the election regulations. Friedman petitioned the courts several times against what he said were flaws in the elections. The Petah Tikva District Court rejected the most recent petition a few days ago. Friedman said yesterday he would present the material he had collected to the state comptroller. "We did not receive full information on the roster of members. Our candidates were disqualified by secretaries of local branches, who were in fact running in the election. Added to the corruption, the loss was clear."

However, Friedman conceded, "Perhaps we should have found a better-known candidate than I to run against Erez. The teachers work under difficult conditions and fear the edicts that might befall them. They prefered a candidate like Erez, even if they don't like him. To some extent, Erez's win is a loss of hope that things can improve," he said.

Erez said that "the teachers aren't stupid. On the one hand is I, who has worked for employment and economic security, and on the other, a person who came out of nowhere, without a teaching certificate, making promises. He bothered every possible court and lost in all of them. The judges aren't members of the teachers association."