Israeli election outcome: hi-tech, start-up nation afflicted by “data entry errors”
Cyber warfare superpower, launching spacecraft to the moon, a day after the election the Central Election Committee published voter turnouts of over 100% in Jewish settlements in Palestine…
Keizler Inbar PR firm post, boasting the success of a secretive, “amazing logistic” operation, in collaboration with PM Netanyahu, in which cameras were illegally planted in Arab ballot stations, “preventing thousands of forgeries”, and suppressing voting rates below 50%. [i] During the April 9, 2019 election, Police was called to stop the illegal videotaping.
Tel-Aviv, April 11 – as part of Arab voter suppression efforts, Netanyahu’s Likud party illegally hired some 1200 people to go with body cameras to ballot stations in Arab population centers . Later, they took pride in achieving their goal (uniquely low Arab voter turnout), and justified it by claiming that Arabs were notorious for voter fraud. [ii]
In contrast, a the morning after election day, activists posted the ballot station outcomes from the Central Election Committee web site, showing voter turnout in Jewish settlements in Palestine, ranging between 97 and 173% …
Activist post showing voter turnout in various Jewish settlements in Palestine – summary of data, published on line by the Central Election Committee.
Activist post showing a screen print of data, published on line by the Central Election Committee web site, showing voter turnout in the Jewish settlement of Harish – 561%.
In response, later in the day, the Central Election Committee issued an explanatory note to media: data entry errors… [iii]
Such incidents are far from surprising. As soon as the 2019 election was prematurely announced by Netanyahu, concerns were raised regarding integrity of the Central Election Committee, particularly related to its IT systems. [iv]
The Central Election Committee, headed by Supreme Court justices, has a checkered credibility record. Human Rights Alert, and Israeli NGO, specializing in e-government monitoring and analysis has repeatedly documented failures in IT systems of the Central Election Committee, and lack of integrity in the Committee’s Freedom of Information responses, pertaining to its IT systems.
Top: March 11, 2019 FOIA request (03-2019), filed with the Central Election Committee by Human Rights Alert – NGO, seeking documentation of certification of the 2013 and 2015 general election outcomes by Supreme Court Justice, who served as Committee Chairs. Bottom: April 08, 2019 (a day prior to the general election) note by the Committee, extending the lawful time for response by 30 days, due to “work overload”.
* Over a month ago, the Committee finally admitted in response to FOIA requests, dragged for over a year, that it did not maintained signed minutes of its Presidency and Plenary meetings, chaired by Supreme Court justices. In contrast, the Committee did maintain lawfully signed minutes for sub-committee meetings, chaired by other officials, e.g., the Tender Committee and Tender Exception Committee. In a follow-up FOIA request, the Committee was asked to provide copies of any document, signed by then Committee Chairs, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, certifying the 2013 election outcome, Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, certifying the 2015 election outcome. The Committee issued an extension notice at the end of the legally prescribed 30 day period, stating it could not respond in time, due to work overload...
* In a FOIA request over a year ago, the Committee was asked to provide documentation of the person, who is authorized to certify the ballot outcomes, published on line by the Committee. The Committee provided a false response, where it attempted to misrepresent the process as fully automated, no-human-hand involved. However, once the Committee was presented with false on line ballot outcomes, similar to the ones published yesterday, the Committee provided an “amended FOIA response”, stating that someone “uploaded the wrong file”. Regardless, the Committee continues to refuse to state the name of the person, who is authorized to certify the data, published on line by the Committee.
* Over two years ago, FOIA request sought documentation of required State employee certification of examination and validation of the Committee’s IT systems. Then too, the Committee provided a false response, claiming that the Shin-Bet (secret service) examined and certified the systems. However, in an unusual move, the Shin-Bet denied such false claims. Subsequently, the Committee provided an “amended FOIA response”, stating that it had no certification by a State employee of its IT systems. [v]
Mr Lazar Dudovich – according the the Central Election Committee he is the Committee’s IT Director, but no record to that effect could be found by the Committee.
* Other FOIA responses established that the Committee had no certification of compliance with the legally binding Israeli Security Standard for IT systems of organizations. Likewise, the Committee had no documentation of the appointment and job description of Mr Lazar Dudovich, who the Committee stated was its IT Director, in charge of IT system development, implementation and operation.
The circumstances surrounding the Israeli Central Election Committee and its IT systems are particularly bizarre, given that Israel is self-advertised as a hi-tech, start-up nation, and cyber superpower. [vi] E.g., in what was exploited as part of Netanyahu’s election propaganda, in February Israel launched a spacecraft to the moon. [vii]
In recent years, PM Netanyahu has also developed a National Cyber Security Array under his direct control in the PM office with no due foundation in law. Such initiative is seen as an attempt to neutralize the Shin-Bet, which is charged by law with “securing procedures and institutions of the democratic regime”. The initiative was protested as “an undemocratic measure”. In recent years, PM Netanyahu has also established and has been directly funding Cyber Security Research Centers in computer science departments of all major Israeli universities. [viii] Consequently, it has become exceedingly difficult to elicit expert academic opinions regarding Israeli e-government systems and cyber security issues. [ix]
The Human Rights Alert submission for the UN Human Rights Council 2018 Periodic Review of Israel focused on fraud in e-government systems, particularly in law and justice agencies. [x] The submission was incorporated into the final report of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights with the note: [xi]
24. HRA-NGO highlighted the serious deterioration in integrity of law and justice agencies as a consequence of the implementation of e-government systems. It affirmed that the validity and integrity of any legal and judicial records of Israel should be deemed dubious at best.
In short: the State of Israel provides a unique example of the principle, stated by Harvard law professor Larry Lessig, “Code is Law”, and the consequences of implementing invalid or fraudulent e-government systems. [xii]
iKaizler-Inbar PR firm April 10, 2019 Facebook post
ii PR Firm Behind Likud's Hidden Cameras in Arab Polling Sites Boasts of Lowering Voter Turnout | Haaretzhttps://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-pr-firm-behind-likud-s-hidden-cameras-in-arab-poll-sites-boasts-of-lowering-turnout-1.7108972
iii Unusual voting data in part of the ballot stations; Central Election Committee: We erroneously entered 2015 data | Haaretz
ivSerious concerns regarding integrity of the Israeli Central Election Committee | OpEdNews.com
v Computer fraud in the 2015 election in Israel? Shin-Bet Head Nadav Argaman is asked to clarify | OpEdNews.com
Shin-Bet implicates the Central Election Committee in serious computer fraud | OpEdNews.com
vi The Best Tech School On Earth Is Israeli Army Unit 8200 | Business Insider
Inside Israel's Secret Startup Machine | Forbes
vii BERESHEET: Launching the First Israeli Spacecraft to the Moon | Israel Space Agency
viii ISRAEL: Computer election fraud in the only digital banana republic in the middle-east? | OpEdNews.comhttps://www.opednews.com/articles/ISRAEL-Computer-election-by-Joseph-Zernik-Election-Fraud_Israel-160928-162.html
ixISRAEL: Who is the Shin Bet loyal to? | OpEdNews.com
xWidespread corruption of the Israeli courts alleged in reports filed with UN Human Rights Council | OpEdNews.com
2017-06-29 Human Right Alert: SUBMISSION: State of Israel HRC UPR (2018) - Incompetence and/or corruption of the courts and the legal profession, and discrimination by law enforcement in Israel
2017-06-29 Human Right Alert: ANNEX to Submission: State of Israel HRC UPR (2018) - Incompetence and/or corruption of the courts and the legal profession, and discrimination by law enforcement in Israel
xi Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights: Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Israel (2018)
xii Code is Law | Larry Lessig