Israelis Everywhere Should Vote

Israelis living abroad are a source of strength to the Jewish State and should vote if anti Zionist Arab Israelis are allowed to vote, says this writer.

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David Shalom

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David Shalom
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Debate has been raging in the Israeli press over an electoral law that will allow Israelis abroad to vote in general elections at home. As is generally the case in the mainstream Hebrew press, little thought has been given to the merits of the law and the implications it has for Israel’s future. It is incumbent upon those of us within the National Camp to refute the specious arguments that have dominated media coverage and lend our support to the law’s sponsor, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. His is a voice of reason and strength in a government of the Right dominated by the Left and their construction-freezing ilk.

The anti Zionist left is happy to allow Arabs in Israel to vote in General Elections and determine the future borders and very survival of the Jewish state. The Arab citizens- who make up nearly 20 percent of the current electorate- do not serve in the armed forces or play any part in the defence of the country. Many of these Arabs are hostile to the existence of Israel itself but are encouraged by those who dominate the establishment. For decades anti Zionist leftists have emboldened extremist Islamist elements- the latest of which being Raed Salah’s Islamic movement- to such an extent that they are the main political force amongst the Arabs today. They have allowed such people as Ahmed Tibi (a former Arafat henchman) and Azmi Bishara- (the spy for Hizballah who fled to Syria in 2007 to avoid trial for high treason) to serve in the Knesset on platforms that call for the dismantling of the Jewish state.

Opponents to the law claim that Israeli Jews living abroad do not serve in the army so should not be allowed to vote – but are happy to allow 1 million Arabs who live in Israel to vote. Is serving in the army then not a universal criterion? Will they demand Arab citizens do military service lest their voting rights be appealed? Of course not!  This argument is flawed anyway as many Israelis who have served in the army left the country to pursue their careers and education.

It has been reported that Shas objects to the law on similar grounds. Will Shas demand that the thousands studying in their yeshivot and those of Agudath Yisrael be drafted or lose their votes too? Perhaps they will ask that all religious women be denied the right to vote on similar grounds? The argument about military service is a canard when discussing voting rights.

There are other arguments to consider with regard to the voting bill. An Israeli citizen who cares enough to go to his consulate to vote is the person the country needs to engage with. The reported 500,000 Israelis living abroad are a source of strength for Israel. As a country surrounded by enemies, it needs to extend its hand of friendship and influence; where better than to engage its own sons? How better than to allow the Jewish people a say in their
Visit any hospital or university in Israel to view the walls of honor engraved with the names of thousands of Jewish contributors from abroad who helped build them.
future and to be part of the process?  These Israeli Jews will vote for the future of the country to which they or their children will one day return, so that decisions do affect them. They will vote to keep Jerusalem and will not be swayed by the anti Zionist media’s uniform mantras. 

This may be what worries the radical anti Zionist left: thousands more Jewish voters will dilute their Arab support base, and they will make informed decisions based on information received from a variety of sources, particularly the internet, which is free and uninfluenced by the slanted stranglehold of the mainstream Israel-based media.

And another point to consider: Who is doing more for Israel - an unemployed anti Zionist living in Tel Aviv, who evaded the draft, works without reporting his income and claims bituah leumi (dole) payments or the Israeli professor at MIT enhancing Israel’s image in breakthrough research and visiting the country three times a year spending his hard earned dollars locally? This point explodes the myth of no representation without taxation that opponents of the bill peddle in direct reversal of the American democratic paradigm. Those living abroad contribute a huge amount to Israel’s economy without drawing anything from the state-funded services. These Israelis do not use hospitals, schools and roads in Israel in the main, yet send money to their relatives back home- or spend thousands of dollars in Israel annually when they come for visits. Travelling is so common today that many spend months here each year.

Meanwhile, the Arab sector uses a disproportionate number of the state’s services, in particular health and education, but contributes little in terms of taxation- let alone the construction of the infrastructure itself. The level of income tax collection in many Arab parts of the country including the Triangle and the Galilee is reported to be as low as 45%.

Visit any hospital or university in Israel to view the walls of honor engraved with the names of thousands of Jewish
Israeli Arabs will ensure that the radical left Meretz party passes the electoral threshold at the next election.
contributors from abroad who helped build them. On a recent visit to Tel Hashomer hospital- one of the leading medical centres in the world- a non-Jewish English friend of mine noted the large numbers of head-scarfed women and bearded men from the Arab villages that dominated the corridors of this Tel Aviv hospital. Yet not a single Arab name was to be seen on the walls of the many donors from abroad. 

Besides, the Saudis, Iranians and Emiratis are busy investing their petro-billions on weaponry. Concern for their Israeli Arab brethren only extends to help in the supply of TNT or hosting of their terrorist leaders in garish Gulf hotels. Not to worry, Israeli Arabs will ensure that the radical left Meretz party passes the electoral threshold at the next election.

Those in opposition to universal suffrage for Israeli citizens deny the realities of the 21st century and those of the Jewish people. They do not understand the unique abilities of the Jewish people- they excel in many academic and professional disciplines that require their presence abroad. Israel is a tiny country that can only hold a certain number of professors, lawyers, engineers etc and these minds can and do lead in a variety of professional fields abroad.

Were they to stay at home their talents would be wasted and their contributions to Israel diminished. By allowing them to vote we strengthen their connection to the homeland and their brothers and bring pride to all of the Jewish people.

 



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