JERUSALEM (JTA) — Proposed legislation to place cameras in Israeli polling stations failed to pass a first reading in the Knesset, essentially rendering it dead.
Fifty-eight Knesset members voted in favor of the bill, but the resolution required a simple majority of 61 to pass.
Lawmakers from the Yisrael Beiteinu party boycotted the vote. Its leader, Avigdor Liberman, said the measure “is not a voter observer bill, it is an election-stealing bill.” Israel will hold national elections on Sept. 17, its second vote this year.
During the April elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party placed 1,200 hidden cameras in polling places, mostly in Arab communities. Likud officials said the cameras were aimed at preventing voter fraud. Critics said it was meant to scare away voters.
On Monday, the bill championed by Netanyahu failed to advance out of the Knesset Regulatory committee, which voted 12-12 on a motion that would have shortened the time required before a vote could be held on the legislation. The bill was then resubmitted so it could go to a first reading.
The head of the Arab Joint List, Aymen Odeh, was ejected from Wednesday’s Knesset session on the bill after taking out his cellphone camera and filming Netanyahu while calling him a liar.