Party Registrations May Have Been Forged, Labor Says

Some of the signatures on the Labor Party voter rolls, especially in Arab communities, appear to have been forged, party officials said yesterday. These latest findings, based on examination of the voter registry, come on top of reports that many citizens who joined Labor this year have cross-registered with other parties.

As a result of the apparent irregularities, the party has appointed a retired judge to examine the voter rolls. After the Labor Party census was taken earlier this month, headlines blared that Arabs now form the party's largest constituency, with a sharp rise of 47 percent in the number of Arab party members.

But the latest findings show a marked rate of "clan registry," whereby party activists affiliated with one of the candidates for the Labor chairmanship appear to have filled in the names of people in their community. Some of the people whose signatures appear in the rolls are unaware of their party membership, while others are aware of it but have no intention of actually voting for Labor, party officials said.

This is particularly easy to do when many people in a community come from the same clan, and so have the same last name.

For instance, 487 registered members of the Labor Party who live in the Arab village of Tamra belong to the Diab clan, the largest one there, and 124 belong to the Al-Hija clan.

Tamra is one of at least 10 Arab communities in which a similar pattern emerges.

In Taibeh, 245 party members are from the Gabara clan, 221 are from the Masarua clan and 125 have the last name Hajj Yihiye. In Sakhnin, 237 party members are from the Halaila clan and 110 from the Gnaim clan. In Kafr Qasem, 185 party members are from the Issa clan and 129 are from the Sarsur clan.

In the Druze village of Hurfeish, 158 party members come from the Faras clan, 154 are from the Aamar clan, 132 are from the Shanan clan, 125 are from the Badar clan and 112 are from the Mara'i clan.

There are more than 900 similar cases in the towns of villages of Tira, Zemer, Manda, Ilut and Kara.