Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Election Day!

Today is election day in Israel, a national holiday. After weeks of banners, print ads, radio ads, tv ads (I am grateful yet again, that we do not own a television), it finally comes down to this:
  • We walk to the local school (I more or less dragged myself, being sick as a dog).
  • We find the room with our number on it.
  • We stand in line, because only one person at a time is allowed in the voting room.
  • When my turn is called, I hand my Teudat Zehut (national ID card) to the nice lady behind the desk.
  • She hands me a pretty blue envelope.
  • I go to a table that has a three-sided cardboard privacy screen.
  • I am faced with this:

photo from muqata.blogspot.com

These are slips of paper. Each Hebrew letter represents a political party (yes, there are that many parties in Israel!).
  • I pick up one (only one! If you accidently put in two, your vote is invalidated) slip with my party's letter, and put it in the pretty blue envelope.
  • I seal the envelope.
  • I walk back to the desk and put my envelope in the pretty blue box.
  • I get my ID back from the nice lady.
  • I leave, having done my civic duty.
It's a good thing the actual procedure is so simple, because deciding who to vote for in this country is not. Do you vote for the party where nearly every member is under investigation for some thing or another, with the exception of the party leader, who has shown a lack of strength? Do you vote for the one of the two parties whose leaders have already been Prime Minister in the past, and well, didn't do much to inspire confidence? Do you vote for one of the leftist green parties? The extreme right-wing party who wants to run all the Arabs out of Israel? The extreme religious party who thinks everyone in Israel should live under their definition of Jewish religious law?

There are three primary items, in my opinion, that are of utmost importance to voters in Israel: security, economy and religion (enforcement of or freedom from). Trying to find a party that covers the right combination of all three is a challenge. Just like in the US, except now I have to decide between 23 or so parties, rather than just the plain old 2 or 3.

I kind of wanted someone to take my picture as I voted ("look! My first federal election!"), but at the same time, I already voted in my local elections, so the "first-time" thrill was gone. And the stress of wondering how the election will go, who will be running our country, and what kind of coalition will be formed (with so many parties, no one party gets enough of a majority, so coalitions between the parties are necessary. It's really complicated here.) overrides much of the excitement. Whoever wins, may G-d grant them the strength, honesty*, commitment and faith to make decisions that will be for the good of the country and her people.

*All the Israelis who are reading this: stop laughing. I know, I know.

1 comment:

Rachel Inbar said...

And now we can start betting when the next elections will be...

I agree - it was a difficult choice. In the end I'd narrowed it down to a 'for' vote (a party that represents interests similar to mine) and an 'against' vote that I hoped would help prevent what I didn't want to happen. [I went with the against in the end, because the 'for' was for a smaller party that would have less influence anyway.]

I could not believe the amount of notes to choose from.