In a letter to the State Election Committee, MK David Azulai (Shas) requested that chairman Judge Elyakim Rubinstein authorize the right of Israelis abroad who were on non-governmental “shlichut” missions to vote in the elections for the 19th Knesset next month.
Currently, only Israeli diplomatic staff and certain senior employees of the World Zionist Organization, who run Aliyah centers and government-funded education programs abroad, are allowed to vote. The request to expand the circle of those permitted to vote, Azulai said, came from WZO employees abroad who were not allowed to vote. If the request is granted, it would confer the right to vote on thousands of Israels who work abroad in Jewish schools and community programs on behalf of Bnei Akiva, Chabad, and several government affiliated educational institutions.
“Hundreds of Israelis serve the state while stationed abroad, many of them in organizations affiliated with the WZO, who are there purely to serve the Jewish people in farflung communities,” Azulai wrote in his letter to Rubinstein. “It would be most proper to allow these people to vote,” he added.
Rubinstein said he would carefully consider the matter and respond within coming days. Legal experts said they expected the request to be denied, because the Knesset would have to adjust existing election laws to authorize the new voters to cast a ballot. In the past, Israel has been reluctant to grant its citizens abroad the right to vote in Knesset elections.