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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘voting’

UPDATED: Likud Primaries Extended to Monday

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Due to computer glitches that have prevented many Likud members from voting, Likud primary elections which were originally extended until midnight on Sunday, have now been extended to 9 PM on Monday.

Only 16% of Likud members were able to vote by 4 PM on Sunday and only 40% succeeded by 9 PM. Some Likud MKs have demanded this primary election be called off and rescheduled.

Likud Primaries a Mess as Members Wait Hours to Vote

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

“They don’t know how to run a war, they don’t know how to run an election, what DOES the Likud know how to do?” muttered one cold Likud member, 45 minutes into her wait to reach the Likud primaries ballot boxes Sunday morning.

Voting got off to a sluggish start when technical difficulties – which some are attributing to hacking – brought almost all the computerized voting stations across Israel to a grinding halt Sunday, forcing many voters to wait upwards of 2 and a half hours to cast their ballots. At Jerusalem’s Binyanei HaUma convention center, patient and apologetic staff members told crowds they did not know when the voting booths would be open, bringing out a few chairs for elderly voters who found standing in the cold difficult.

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Meanwhile, enthusiastic representatives of the 60 candidates vying for the 12 highest spots on the Likud party list handed out pamphlets, cards and stickers explaining the policies and opinions of the voters.  Candidates Avraham Negusie (hopeful representative for the Ethiopian sector) and Daniel Tauber (head of Likud Anglos), were on hand in person to meet and talk to voters.

As voters waited, they discussed current events, politics, and the cold weather.  One voter from Samaria, Yechiel, expressed his disapproval of the Prime Minister – and current Likud party chairman – Benjamin Netanyahu.  “I am disappointed in the ceasefire.  I think it will just end up being something that buys time for Hamas to refuel, maybe at best a pause in fighting,”  Yechiel said.  “I wish I could vote Netanyahu out today.  I don’t think I’ll even vote for Likud in the real national elections.”

Others expressed their support of Netanyahu, who stands to be re-elected as head of the party.  “I think the same as before the war,” Mordechai from East Jerusalem said.  “I think Bibi should be re-elected.  He is the best option by far, proven over time.  I hope he will continue to prove it over the next four years.”

When groups of voters finally started to be admitted, they were treated to a simple explanation of the procedure of voting at several mock voting booths set up on and staffed along the sides of the entrance.

At noon, voters who had arrived around 10am were brought to a new indoor line, where they were told that only 3 of the  80 voting computers were working, causing the line to inch forward slowly.  More chairs were brought to accommodate the elderly, as well as teary-eyed children who had been dragged along for an Israeli democratic experience.  Another staff member came by to apologize again, saying rumors were circulating that the booths would be held open until 2am to accommodate all the voters who had arrived to vote and been discouraged by the long wait times (in the end, the elections committee decided to extend voting for two hours until midnight).

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

At 12:50 PM, the author of this article was called into a voting booth, and got to the end of her turn to vote when she realized she had been assigned to the wrong geographic voting area.  Asking for assistance from the polite and attentive clerks in front of her booth, an election day attorney was called.

Without asking the permission of the voter (me) or the elections staff, the attorney proceeded to push touch-screen buttons, erasing the voter’s choices in an attempt to restart the process (even as the voter protested that it was very clear to her how to vote, and that she had done everything correctly).  “Let’s see what this does”, the attorney said, as she wiped out my votes.

The screen promptly froze.  The clerks expressed their disapproval for the unilateral action on the part of the attorney, and called for a technician to come and fix the problem.  A technician, who was on his cell phone, looked at the screen, and told the clerks to attempt an action they said they could not do, due to the freezing of the screen and subsequently their own computers, and rushed off.

Do Expatriates Still Have the Right to Vote? (Podcast)

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Did you know that you still have the right to vote, even if you live overseas? If you weren’t aware of this fact and you missed the recent presidential elections, don’t worry! Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and cofounder of the Overseas Vote Foundation, explains why voting is still important, even if you live abroad, and how you are able to do it. So get prepared for the next elections and listen to this great interview on the Goldstein on Gelt show!

Voting isn’t Revenge, it’s ResistanceVoting Isn’t Revenge

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

There are plenty of ways to cast the divisions between parties and movements, but the elemental act of voting divides rhetoric from motive.

Obama called voting the best revenge, because for a sizable portion of his base that’s exactly what voting is. Their votes are a violent act, a spiteful assault on a country that they can never participate in for economic or cultural reasons. Change for them is not a positive program, but a negative assault on the national majority. Bankrupting the country by robbing it for their own benefit is their revenge.

Voting for us isn’t revenge, it’s resistance. It isn’t a choice that emerges out of reasoned debate between two sets of values, it’s an act of resistance against the revengers, the looters and the destroyers. The voting booth is a form of sabotage against their regime, their corrupt interests and their oppressive regulations.

These last four years we have endured an intensified occupation of our political, religious and personal freedoms. We have been robbed, lied to, ordered around and in some cases even killed. These crimes have been carried out by elected officials and the election will allow us to remove some of them. It will not end the reign of terror, but if successful, our act of electoral resistance will inflict a severe setback on the plans of their ideological movement and the unelected officials who rely on them for funding and political support.

The election will not end the occupation, but it will interrupt the forward momentum of the occupiers. It will force them to fall back into their think tanks and formulate new strategies for dismantling the Constitution, eliminating our civil rights and ending elections as anything but empty shows with no meaning.

Some of us act as if elections will be here forever so that we can wait for the next one to come around and the one after that when the right candidate will lead us to victory. They won’t be. The ideology that we are resisting believes in populism only when it serves its ends. Its judicial appointees have acted repeatedly to neuter referendums when the results do not go the right way.

The ultimate goal of the occupation is to shift power away from elected officials and into the infrastructure of unelected officials, so that their elected officials can draw on nearly unlimited powers by dictating to the bureaucratic oligarchy of the state, while elected officials not aligned with their movement will be narrowly constrained and have very little influence over the bureaucracy.

The occupation is not here to take power for another four years, but another forty years and another four-hundred years. It is not playing a short term game in a system where power shifts back and forth, but putting in place the infrastructure for the permanent occupation of the United States of America. But despite all its power and control, the miles of video screens that spew forth its propaganda, the billions of dollars that flow from its coffers into the pockets of its supporters and the cultural control that its proponents wield– it still has one vulnerability.

A piece of paper, a push of a button, and the occupiers have to fall back, gritting their teeth and planning a renewed offensive in the spring.

The left overreached itself in the last four years. Its occupation was poorly managed and the native population has been alienated. While its Chief was sacrificing thousands of American lives to win over the natives in Afghanistan, his occupation of the United States was crumbling. The economy is rotten and the people are tired of being lied to. The resistance is popular and the community organizers are running scared.

This is our moment and in a single day we can push the occupation out of the countryside and back into the cities. We can undermine its morale, strip it of the money with which it bribes collaborators and force it to rethink whether it really wants to spend the next few decades battling to control an unruly population. We can make men like George Soros and Ted Turner decide that their money would be better spent terrorizing Eastern Europe or Africa, instead of America by making oppressing us seem like a bad investment.

Voting Overseas

Monday, October 29th, 2012

This year, American citizens living in Israel can vote in the upcoming U.S. elections, at the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) centers across Israel. The voting station in the picture is in Jerusalem. Nancy and I voted at the Netanya AACI which has the narrowest parking lot you ever saw, plus you have to get the nice lady to come out of the office and remote-open the gate – but who’s complaining…

The line wasn’t that long, but it’s probably sensible to call ahead and find out when the voting room is open. The place is staffed mostly with volunteers, so we need to appreciate their effort and show up when they’re available.

The downside is that you fill out a blank ballot, where you write in your choices for everything, from President to dog catcher. I had to ask Nancy to spell for me the name of our Congresswoman. Our zip code, 10002, just switched from one election district to another, plus, back in the States you don’t have to spell when you vote, unless you’re going for Daffy Duck (whom I have recommended in the past for many different positions).

Last year was my first and last opportunity to vote on a computer in our district. Gone were those wonderful iron machines with the heavy, decisive lever you pulled down with such an air of finality. When that lever came down, fates were decided, you could feel it.

Now we didn’t even have computer keys to push, just an old fashioned piece of paper with my write-in choice.

Good luck, Yosemite Sam, I hope you make it to the White House and become the best possible pwesident you could possibly be.

An Open Letter to Religious Zionist Rabbis

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Dear Rabbi:

With elections approaching in Israel, I am searching for a religious political party for which to vote. When I think about voting for Shas, I remember their support for Oslo, the surrender of parts of Eretz Yisrael, giving rifles to our enemies, and the terrible sea of Jewish blood that was spilled after the Oslo Accords were signed. That is not the Torah I am searching to find.

When I think about voting for Degal HaTorah and Agudah, except for a few lone voices, I remember their silence leading up to, and during, the Disengagement from Gush Katif, when fellow Jews were thrown out of their homes and pieces of Eretz Yisrael were handed over to our enemies. That is not the Torah I am searching for.

When I think about voting for the Bayit HaYehudi-National Union merger, I see that their leading candidate in the polls has chosen a very pretty young woman as a running mate. Please understand that I have nothing against women, and I am sure this candidate is a very talented and idealistic person, but I wonder if in a public situation like politics, it is appropriate to include a young attractive woman in the leadership of the party, especially for a party that promises to defend Torah ideals.

Modesty has always been a pillar of Judaism. In this week’s Torah portion of “Lech Lecha,” we learn that Avraham Avinu never gazed at his wife until they were on their way to Egypt and its illicit culture, when he realized that the Egyptians would lust after her beauty. I remember that HaRav Shlomo Aviner has written that it is forbidden to attend a lecture given by a woman, since one will have to gaze at her at length and thus transgress the commandment not to stray after one’s heart and eyes. In fact, I once I asked HaRav Aviner if I could write a screenplay, based on a popular novel, about a Haredi youth who was attracted to a non-religious girl, and Rav Aviner answered, yes, if the girl was 90 years old and not attractive. HaRav Mordechai Eliahu, of blessed memory, stated that in attending a wedding where men and women ate together without a mechitza, there was a problem with “Lo tachmod eshet rayecha,” the prohibition of lusting after your neighbor’s wife, one of the Ten Commandments. So, it is difficult for me to think about voting for the Bayit HaYehudi. Some people may say that all this is an exaggeration, that they can look at an attractive woman and not think any improper thought, but I recall that even King David himself got into trouble over a pretty married woman. So I wonder: is this the Torah party that I am searching for?

Could this occur in Shas? In Agudat Yisrael? Will this bring these parties closer to identifying with the goals of the Dati Leumi? Would HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook have endorsed this party? Yes, the unity of the ranks is a praiseworthy project, and yes, it is important to unite all Am Yisrael, religious and non-religious alike, but why with a pretty, young secular woman? Is this a sign of Torah leadership? Couldn’t non-religious voters be attracted to the Bayit HaYehudi by including on their list a young, idealistic , non-religious soldier from some top commando unit? Why does it have to be a young women who looks like a model? While many people long to see a new idealism and a new Torah-spirit in Israeli politics, which fosters a love for the Land of Israel and for all Am Yisrael, religious and non-religious alike – what possible good could come from this lack of concern for the modesty of our national life in the Holy Land?

Vote Early, Vote Often!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The title of this article is the supposed motto of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, but for Americans living in Israel it means, literally, vote twice. Both Israel and America are holding important elections and, hopefully, most Orthodox Jews will be voting. The United States will be holding its regular four-year elections for president and many other offices, and Israel will be voting for an entire “new” Parliament (Knesset).

This year, the main organization actively soliciting votes in Israel for the American elections is “iVOTE Israel” (www.ivoteisrael.com). There are a few paid professionals but most are volunteers who are working to encourage Americans living in Israel to vote in the American elections. The main purpose of the campaign is that American politicians should be more aware that aside from the many Jewish voters in the United States who support Israel, there are also about 160,000 potential American voters living in Israel. “iVOTE Israel” has garnered about 60,000 – 75,000 votes in this first year of its operation and I was happy to volunteer to help gather votes. At none of the meetings that I attended was there a request to vote for a specific party. At public meetings, both American parties were represented and the representatives explained their candidate’s approach to helping Israel.

I understand that there were also Democrat and Republican organizations soliciting votes, but they did not seem to be too active and we did not see any of that activity. It is true that many Israelis are disheartened by the Democratic administration’s handling of matters important to Israel and our leaders seem to be afraid of the potential effect of another four years of this Democrat President. They are afraid that once he no longer is concerned about reelection, he will follow a much harder anti-Israel approach.

Israel, of course, is very aware and appreciative of American aid, but many here are afraid of Obama. They feel that he has made too many pro-Muslim statements and has downplayed violent Muslim terror acts. Terror should not be ignored and hopefully Americans of all faiths will wake up to what is happening in Europe and in the rest of the world. Europe itself seems to be finally waking up to the dangers that their Muslim populations pose and Europeans, hopefully, are beginning to realize that suicide murderers are a danger not only to Jews but also to all Europeans.

There will also be elections in Israel. The Israeli Knesset usually serves for up to four years but the Knesset can decide to hold elections earlier (as it usually does) or the Israeli president can decide that elections should be held when the parties in the Knesset are stalemated. The Knesset rarely completes a full term. PM Netanyahu recently decided to call for elections a bit early because he feels that he has an electoral advantage.

For Orthodox Jews in Israel, the coming election may not be too beneficial. Unfortunately, Orthodox Jews are as divided as ever. Each religious faction believes that it can garner more seats by going it alone and Orthodox Jewry loses out. The Religious Zionists are again trying to unite but, as we have seen in the past, the National Union, an alliance of several parties, may break away again. Some disgruntled religious politicians already seem to be planning another national religious party. The Sephardic Shas Party also may have patched up its internal differences and Aryeh Deri will once again serve in a leadership role. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef decreed that there should be two heads to the party: Eli Yishai and Arye Deri. This should prove interesting. Let us hope that at least the Agudah and the Degel Hatorah Parties remain united.

The High Holidays are over, the children are back in school, the weather is still fairly warm and politics has become the major topic of conversation. We pray for internal and external peace.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/focus-israel/vote-early-vote-often/2012/10/24/

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