Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

11 Sivan 5759 - May 26, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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"Confessions of a Vote Forger"

by Professor Yehuda Eisenberg

The exasperating attempts of the Leftist parties to disrupt and cause delays at the polls in the chareidi centers have already been reviewed at length in our paper. This phenomenon was manifest in various polls in chareidi neighborhoods. One of the most extreme and flagrant incidents occurred in poll no. 287, in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The secular Jerusalem weekly, Kol Ha'Ir, a Shocken publication, is not known as a friend of the chareidi community. But despite its staunch secular approach, the newspaper published an article sent by a Bayit Vegan resident cynically and sarcastically describing the experiences of voters at a poll selected by the Leftists as worthy of their attention, in order to, as they put it, safeguard the "purity" of the vote.

My sins I shall enumerate: I went to vote for the Knesset without wearing glasses -- a terrible sin in Israeli democracy, which is very strict with forgers. This is what happened: I'm registered at poll number 287, located in a neighborhood where the voters must be examined, to wit, Bayit Vegan. Respectfully, I enter the polling booth room, holding the attachment to my identity card (they said to bring it, but no one knows why) in one hand, my identity card in my other hand, and in my shirt pocket, ready to present, my voter's notice.

Ms. Nurit Natan, in her high public position as the chairperson of poll committee no. 287, greeted me. She, as I was told, represented Yisrael Achat. The lady examined my identity card with commendable skepticism . Sherlock Holmes could not have done a more thorough job. She turned it over, and in the end found the forgery: in the picture on the identity card I was wearing glasses, but had come to the polls without them.

"Why," the lady asked in a shrill voice, "are you wearing glasses in the picture on the identity card, and why aren't they perched on your nose now?"

My heart fell. The lady had caught me red-handed. In my mind's eye I envisioned a police van bringing me, along with all the other forgers and dead people, to the prison, and the judge asking me in a severe tone: "Why didn't you wear your glasses when you came to vote?

I came to my senses, and decided that I had nothing to lose beyond my freedom and my good name. With forced confidence I replied: "I refuse to answer that question, and I ask that in the protocol it be recorded that I refused to answer the question."

The lady swallowed the bait, and transferred the identity card to Mr. Chagai Shami, a member of the polls committee. He didn't become confused, and asked me the question meant to cause me to falter: "Now tell me your identity card number by heart."

This time, I got mixed up. I told him my identity card number, but the terrible deceit was nearly revealed: I had forgotten to cite the control number. Mr. Chagai Shami repeated the number, and added the control number in an astonished voice. Miracle of miracles. He didn't call the police, and even agreed to give me the two envelopes so that I could vote.

I left the poll room, peering back all along to see if the police were pursuing me. Had Ms. Natan discerned that I was a forger and a crook, and was trying to vote for the Knesset without my eyeglasses, even though on my identity card picture I was wearing glasses? Had she pardoned my crime?

I returned home and decided that the best defense is an offense. I wrote a letter of complaint to the Central Elections Committee, copies of which I personally delivered to my two examiners, Ms. Natan and Mr. Shami.

At my second visit to the polls, it became clear that I had escaped the barbed investigation with relative ease. Professor Yehuda Levi, one of the greatest optical theorists in the world, left the examination deeply offended. Apparently, Ms. Natan had discerned a number of weighty optical problems in the Professor's manner of voting, and put him in his place. It became clear that after the complaints of a number of other citizens (forgers, though no one knows what they forged) the lady was kicked out of the polling booth, but returned a short while later, this time as an observer. She sat on the observers' chair, subdued and crestfallen, while another representative of Yisrael Achat occupied her seat.

But the story didn't end with that. A short while later, her replacement left the polling booth, and Ms. Natan returned and once more occupied the chairman's seat from where she again began to harass the voters and to cause long waiting lines and incessant fighting. Liberated territory, the wise have said, should not be returned.

At about three o'clock the police finally came, and ceremoniously removed Ms. Natan who had, in the name of democracy and in the name of Yisrael Achat, taken over the polling booth. She left the building, accompanied by the jeers of all in her way, who did not understand that they had been treated to lesson in citizenship, Yisrael Achat style.

A closing point: I know of at least one person who voted for Binyomin Netanyahu due to the lesson in totalitarian democracy learned from Ms. Nurit Natan.

At the end of the article, the editorial board of the paper added: "The Yisrael Achat headquarters in the city has decided not to comment."

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