Arab town doesn’t love anti-Arab party
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Arab town doesn’t love anti-Arab party

Count showing 109 votes in Jisr a-Zarka given to extreme right Otzma Leyisrael was a mistake

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Michael Ben Ari introduces his campaign slogan 'There are no rights without duties' at a press conference in Jerusalem, November 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Michael Ben Ari introduces his campaign slogan 'There are no rights without duties' at a press conference in Jerusalem, November 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Voting results that showed residents of the Israeli-Arab village of Jisr a-Zarka giving overwhelming support to a far-right, anti-Arab party were wrong, the country’s Central Elections Committee said on Sunday, pointing to a typing error as the cause of the strange ballot tallies.

Live results published on the Central Elections Committee’s website last week showed 109 voters in the small village casting ballots for the extreme right-wing Otzma Leyisrael party. Of those votes, 107 were cast in one of the village’s 11 voting stations.

Many of Israel’s Arab citizens vote for Zionist parties, but the exceptional voting percentage for such a nationalist party, which has run on a campaign critics say is racist toward Arabs, raised many eyebrows around the country.

The party is seen by some as the ideological descendant of the outlawed Kach party.

The Central Elections Committee ordered the voting station’s results to be reexamined and the ballots recounted. It turned out only two people in the village had voted for Otzma Leyisrael.

Following the recount, a judge approved the motion to have the official results removed and the correct ones published.

A quick look at the voting pattern among Israeli-Arabs showed the three traditional Arab parties with Knesset members — Ra’am-Ta’al (the United Arab list), Hadash and Balad — receiving the vast majority of the vote in the town, with left-wing Meretz getting most of the leftovers.

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