Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser is considering reviving the so-called “Omri Casspi
Bill,” which would allow Israeli citizens abroad to vote.
reviewing a policy paper on the topic, and has yet to bring it to the cabinet’s
table for review, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Sunday.
from the Jewish People Policy Institute, recommends legislation that would allow
Israelis to vote in their first four years abroad, after registering at an
Israeli consulate and declaring that they intend to return to
Similar legislation was discussed by the government last year,
and was nicknamed the Omri Casspi Bill for the first Israeli to play in the
Of the roughly 700,000 Israeli expatriates, most of whom are in the
US or Russia, about 50,000 consider Israel the center of their lives, and their
votes would account for an estimated two MKs, Hauser said.
diplomatic officials, Jewish Agency workers and sailors can vote outside
Hauser told Army Radio over the weekend that he favors such a
policy change, which would be targeted at “the heart surgeon in a continuing
education program abroad, the university student in the US, the El Al pilot.
Their right to vote exists; the problem is with implementing that
Many Israelis contribute to Israel’s economy during their time
abroad, and such a law would strengthen their connection to Israel, he
“This is a bigger issue than voting – it is about defining Israel
as the nation-state of the Jewish People,” he added.
agreement between the Likud and Israel Beiteinu requires that absentee voting be
put to a vote. However, Shas has threatened to take advantage of its coalition
agreement with the Likud, which gives every party in the coalition a veto on
bills that would change the electoral system.
Labor leader Shelly
Yacimovich came out against the proposal on Saturday night, calling it
“anti-Zionist” and saying it “spits in the face of citizens of Israel who are
partners in building the state, who face constant dangers, serve in the army and
Israel Beiteinu is trying to increase its political power by
harming Israeli democracy, Yacimovich said.
Earlier this year, television
personality turned politician Yair Lapid took a stand against the Omri Casspi
Bill on his Facebook page.
“Israel is a country whose existence is
constantly threatened, so people who don’t live here shouldn’t be able to vote
on issues like its borders, bombing Iran or the settlements,” Lapid wrote. “You
cannot decide the direction of the country if you don’t have to live with the
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.