In the city often viewed as Israel’s Anglo hub, the olim of Ra’anana casting
their votes on Tuesday displayed a significant preference for rightleaning
Walking around the main streets, posters, vans and balloons
dedicated to Ra’anana’s resident Knesset candidate, Bayit Yehudi chairman
Naftali Bennett, were most prominent – with signs decorating apartment buildings
and recycling bins on nearly every street corner, particularly those in
Bennett’s own Ariel neighborhood. Also quite popular throughout the city and in
front of polling stations were campaign tables and signs for Likud Beytenu and
Shas, with young ultra-Orthodox children distributing materials for the latter
While many Ra’anana immigrants declined to share their voting
choices with The Jerusalem Post – one woman simply said that “the line was too
long” and that she planned on coming back later – others were very
As one of the founders of the organization Likud Anglos and
a Likud central committee member, Sonia Graham, 51, told the Post outside the
Ariel School that her choice was clear.
“I want to vote with the
majority, and I think you need to vote for the bigger party,” said Graham, who
has been in Israel for 17 years and is originally from England. She has been
involved in Ra’anana’s Anglo politics for many years. Graham said that most
members of this community – particularly those of American origin – tend to vote
for right-wing parties.
While Bennett has attracted a large number of
immigrant votes in the city, especially within the national-religious community,
Graham said it was crucial “to vote for the bigger parties.”
Yorker Martin Becker echoed Graham’s sentiments, stressing that he had voted for
Likud Beytenu “because I feel that we need one central, strong body rather than
a fragmentation of all the parties.”
Originally from Staten Island, the
82-year-old Becker has lived in Ra’anana for 16 years, and both he and his wife
said that most of their friends were voting the same way – but that Bennett had
incurred a sharp rise in popularity due to his Ra’anana residence.
couple from London, in Israel for three years, were likewise voting for Likud
Beytenu, or “for Bibi,” as they put it.
Jack and Miriam Nusbacher, both
74 and here from New York for 24 years, also voted for Likud
“I’m afraid [Binyamin Netanyahu is] not going to do well, and I
think he should be prime minister,” Jack Nusbacher said. “The people with
Bennett are a little off the wall for me. I wish Bennett was Likud.”
young couple from New Jersey were a bit less decisive, telling the Post that “up
to the last minute we’re deciding.”
“I think the chances are, one of us
is Bayit Yehudi and one of us is Likud,” the husband said.
frustrated with Netanyahu’s willingness to negotiate with the Palestinian
Authority and felt that a tougher stance against the country’s Arab neighbors
Willie Malkinson, 78, told the Post he had voted for Bennett
“because I can’t see any future in wasting so much time negotiating with people
who don’t want to negotiate with us.” Even if PA President Mahmoud Abbas wanted
to proceed with negotiations, he would not be able to achieve an agreement
without the support of terrorists, according to Malkinson, who came to Israel
from Ireland 30 years ago.
“Gaza [in 2005] was a good example of giving
away land,” he said, noting that such a gesture could not work.
Grysman, 27, told the Post that she, too, was voting for Bayit Yehudi.
have the same ideology,” said Grysman, who came here nine years ago from
“They’re right-wing, they’re religious. They care about Israel
and not giving everything to the Arabs. They’re the most similar to me both
politically and religiously.”
While the overwhelming majority of Ra’anana
Anglos with whom the Post spoke on Tuesday appeared to be right-leaning, others
were more centrist.
Shira, 64, from New York, and her Israeli-born
daughter entered the Ariel School still unsure exactly for whom they were
voting, but pretty sure they would both choose Yesh Atid simply because Yair
Lapid represented to them the “least of all evils.”
Another former New
Yorker, 47-year-old Daniel Mann, also said he was choosing Yesh Atid, somewhat
due to a “process of elimination.”
“I think Bennett is way too extreme in
political views and the hostility he had against the cease-fire [reached with
Hamas in the Gaza Strip in November] was not responsible, whether it was right
or wrong,” Mann, who has been in Israel for five years, told the Post. “I think
they’re too extreme.”
He decided not to go with Labor because he was
afraid of what the party could do to the economy, while he called Tzipi Livni
“scary,” saying that “she attacks everybody.”
“So I was looking for
somebody who in a coalition could potentially shift the Right a little more
toward the Center,” Mann said.
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