TEL AVIV (Jan. 16)
Three yeshiva students and two women from the Orthodox township of Bnei Brak were sentenced to prison by a Tel Aviv magistrate Sunday for election fraud.
They pleaded guilty to casting illegal ballots during the Nov. 1 Knesset elections.
Sentenced to four months were students Yitzhak Pinter, 36; Baruch Nissenbaum, 31; and Yisrael Lerer. Sara Kuperman, 45, and Haya Steizenberg, 35, got three months each.
The accused admitted they borrowed each other’s identity cards in order to vote more than once at different polling stations.
Lerer insisted he acted out of conscience when he “loaned” his ID card to another man without payment. He said he could not bring himself to participate in a Zionist — meaning secular — election.
Judge Eliezer Cohen surprised the defendants’ lawyers when he refused to accept a plea bargain they had arranged with the district attorney for suspended sentences.
“The defendants’ deeds endangered the basis of Israel’s democratic system,” the judge declared.