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Police open criminal probe into Yamina MK who voted twice in Knesset

Investigators collect security camera footage documenting alleged July crime that Abir Kara has already confessed to, though he insists that his actions were accidental

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Yamina's Abir Kara at the Knesset on April 5, 2021. (Olivier Fitousi/Flash90)
Yamina's Abir Kara at the Knesset on April 5, 2021. (Olivier Fitousi/Flash90)

Police have reportedly launched a criminal investigation into a Yamina lawmaker who was caught illegally voting twice in the Knesset in July.

Investigators are reviewing the security camera footage and questioning other MKs regarding Yamina MK Abir Kara’s actions, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday, adding that they are likely to probe the suspect himself as well.

Kara said Tuesday evening that he had found out about the police investigation only from the media report, but that he was willing to fully cooperate.

“I found out like you did through the media about the opening of a criminal investigation against me,” said Kara in a statement. “Of course, if requested, I will cooperate just as I did with the Knesset investigation.”

Kara has maintained that the double vote was an innocent mistake. Kara, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said at the time that he accidentally voted from the computer of fellow Yamina MK Idit Silman.

“I voted from the wrong computer of my friend who sits next to me, out of instinct, and it was a mistake,” Kara tweeted then. “The important thing is that I admitted immediately to the error. And by the way, the coalition had a majority on the bill anyway.”

MK Abir Kara reacts during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, in Jerusalem on August 2, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The coalition easily won the vote on a social security bill, so Kara’s double vote did not change the outcome, but the deputy minister could not have known this definitively in advance, making the final tally irrelevant to the police’s decision.

There is no indication that Kara — who took office in April — ever voted twice in the past. A source in the Knesset told Channel 13 in July that if no other such instances are discovered, Kara is unlikely to face criminal charges.

Former Likud MK Yehiel Hazan — the father of former Likud MK Oren Hazan — voted twice in the Knesset in 2003 and ended up being sentenced to four months of community service and a six-month suspended prison term. However, unlike Kara, Hazan refused to admit to the offense despite video evidence, and later attempted to tamper with the evidence. Hazan remained in the Knesset for his full term, and was not reelected in 2006.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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