Also the Road Paved with Selfish Intensions

February 13, 2010 at 16:33 2 comments

Unlike many countries, Israel doesn’t allow citizens living abroad to vote in general elections. The logic is clear: if you’ve already voted with your feet — and are not prepared to pay the price of your vote in terms of Scandinavian tax levels, biannual wars and a public transport system that hasn’t improved much since independence — then you shouldn’t have the right to influence the future of those of us who choose to stay.

Recently, a bunch of Knesset members from the Likud and Israel Beiteinu have started to think about how they best can ensure that they stay on the gravy-train also after the next parliamentary elections — which, considering the fact that this is Israel, can’t be that far off.

The brilliant idea that they’ve come up with is to let Israeli ex-pats vote.

I assume they think that people who aren’t forced to work for minimum wage, fight wars or send their kids to schools with forty pupils per class are more inclined to vote for such policies than those for whom it’s a part of their daily life.

And that does make a lot of sense.

However, the proposal has a flaw. Even though it’s presented as a great Zionist act to reconnect the émigré community with the homeland, it would not only grant the right to vote to those who have abandoned the Zionist project, but could ironically enough also put our fate in the hands of those who never believed in it in the first place.

With a tactical — and presumably temporary — move across the seas, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Per Gahrton and others like them could vote in Israeli parliamentary elections.

I doubt whether the right-wing politicians who came up with this scheme have thought it through properly.


Entry filed under: Politics.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anna  |  February 14, 2010 at 09:22

    I already thought this was immoral and unjust, but Per Gahrton…

    I really hope this idea is not going to last for very long, see,7340,L-3847400,00.html

    and thing is, Israelis abroad CAN already vote – if they make sure they are registered and come here to vote. I have a friend who does that.

    I would totally be in favor of Israeli students voting abroad, say for a few years time or so while completing studies. That is something totally different than to give a general right to vote abroad for people who made aliya, stayed here two three years and then went back, or people who live 10-20 years abroad or, asl Michael suggests, never intended to live here in the first place.

  • 2. Einat  |  February 14, 2010 at 09:22

    Here my comment from before:
    the decision should be made regalrdless of the expected result, which is something that can change. besides, there are also students who go abroad for a little while and return (like me) and now the difference is whether you can afford to fly over to israel especially for the elections or nojt. so the rich win yet again?

    i actually think i am against it, but then there should be a mechanism that would prevent ppl from voting if they came to israel just for that.


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