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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fickle Israeli voter

So I couldn't really let election day pass without a post.  It seems like just yesterday we were new citizens, voting in our first elections.  We were so excited and eager.  And maybe it seems like it was just yesterday because it was actually just two years ago that we were putting little slips in boxes.  This time around seems less exciting and more nerve wracking.  I have invested so much energy in trying to figure out who to vote for, and I still don't fully understand the system.  After elections coalitions have to be formed and it feels a little like guesswork because even if the guy you support makes it in he's going to have to find some friends to get any work done.  And who will those friends be?

So a month or two ago, we hosted a parlor meeting at our home with Yesh Atid, a centrist party that made its debut in 2013.  I thought a lot of what they had to say made sense and believe me there are so  many issues.  I mean just start with the price of cottage cheese and draw the lines to Sudanese refugees, civil rights for all citizens, cost of housing, left vs. right, non-working segment of the population, immigrants, socialized healthcare, mandatory military service.  I  mean why would you even want to run the country?  That makes everyone gunning for these positions  somewhat suspect to begin with!

The night of the meeting one of my children greeted the Yesh Atid Knesset member with "Hello.  My teacher said that Yair Lapid (the head of the party) is a bad man." (the indoctrination that is apparently taking place at the school was all the more shocking as the Minister of Education is a member of the Yesh Atid party that they were speaking against!)

 Now mind you, by the end of the evening  Yesh Atid had a new campaign volunteer (evidencing the ease with which a school aged child can be indoctrinated!)  Anyway, balancing all of the different issues I was really conflicted about who to vote for, when friends invited us to go for a hike on election day.  Yes, election day is a national holiday, prompting the joke "I'm going to vote for whichever party whose government will fall apart first and give us another day off."  When our friends mentioned the hike it was the first time that I looked at the actual date the elections will be held, and naturally I was already scheduled to work in the US.

Guess where in the world there is no absentee ballot?  If you guessed Israel, you win the perspicacity prize!  You have to be physically in the country to cast that little paper ballot (obviously there are exceptions for diplomats etc. and while I do appreciate that there are folks out there who enjoy my blog, I do not enjoy diplomatic status).  So no vote for me.   Though I suppose in July of 2012 when we flew across the ocean, we had already cast our ballot.  Or at least enabled me to vote in all the future elections.


  1. As a study abroad student in 1999 we got election day off. It was an awesome day of hiking for me!

    1. That's fantastic Dara! Thanks for sharing.