Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Eve

I must say, that on the eve of elections for city mayors and councils all across Israel, I find myself quite excited. Given that I have become rather disillusioned about the power of the vote - anywhere in the world - ( I did NOT vote in America's recent episode) I am a little surprised at my feelings.

It is my first opportunity to vote in Jerusalem - even in Israel. ...and there is not a more important City in all the world. I took this very seriously, talking to many people, listening to the candidates, and I feel I am coming into the election as an "informed voter."

None of them have my 100% support - that is there are issues with which I disagree, with each one. But, in truth, there is also something I like about each candidate - an attitude on one or more subjects, a plan perhaps, or just the persona of the person.

Two weeks ago I received my "invitation to vote" as it is called here. I like invitation to vote. It is simply a notice telling you where your polling place is and information about hours etc. It is your ticket to get in the door of the voting booth. But where else except Israel would it be called an invitation? I felt honored. I've been invited to vote!! NOT like it was in America : With a finger shaking in your face, and screaming "if you don't vote you are a baaaddd person - UN-American, etc. etc." In the US, in recent years I felt it was not so much of a privilege or a responsibility, but something that took on a life of it's own, yet with little consequence. But boy did you feel guilty if you didn't go to that voting booth!

Guilt isn't a big commodity here in Israel though, and so even if I didn't vote I would just feel differently about it. Besides I'm laughing a little, because we all know that the last national election (when WAS it???) was a complete fiasco, and the people of Israel were totally betrayed. In Israel, for the national elections, we vote in a party not a person. Whoever is the head of the elected party becomes the Prime Minister. And in 2001 the nation voted in Likud on a nationalist platform, only to have the head of Likud (Arik Sharon) quit that party and form a new party (Kadima) with a completely opposite agenda from that of Likud...(it was the agenda Likud ran AGAINST, and that agenda was soundly defeated.) YET, amazingly amazingly, Sharon remained the head of the government....with a party that was never, not ever, voted in. The rest is history, as they say....and now we have a prime minister who has resigned ...but is still prime minister..making far reaching and disastrous decisions.

But I digress. Back to my invitation to vote in Jerusalem for Mayor and City Council. Now, we vote for a person for Mayor, and for a party for Council. Even knowing all I do about Israeli politics, I still feel honored to have been invited to vote...and I will do just that tomorrow morning. ...

... keeping you posted and giving you a first hand report on all the excitement.

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