Uncle Sam wants you to vote in the November 6 American election. Or at least a
group of well-funded American immigrants to Israel do.
They started the
iVoteIsrael Campaign, which its organizers describe as “an issue-based campaign,
expressing their desire to see a Congress and administration who will support
and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to
self-defense, without endorsing any specific candidate or party.”
A campaign spokesman said the
project is funded by contributions raised in the United States,
mainly in small increments from individuals and foundations within the Jewish
community and the Christian communities.
The organizers were inspired to
take action by the 2000 presidential race, which was decided by 537 absentee
ballots cast in Florida, of which only 64 came from Israel even though there are
thousands of Floridians in this country.
Bearing in mind how close the
current presidential race could be, they hope a record number of the estimated
150,000 eligible voters in Israel register to vote by absentee ballot and get in
their votes on time.
To that end, the campaign set up the ivoteisrael.com
website to simplify the process for Americans in Israel to register and vote.
The campaign will help by phone and email, and will even send their regional
coordinators to your house to help you and mail your ballot for you.
want to see a president in the White House who will support and stand by Israel
in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to defend itself,” a
campaign spokesman said. “Since we believe that ‘there is no such thing as
friends in politics, only interests,’ we started thinking about how to be
proactive about this. We – as American Israelis – are punching way below our
weight, and we set out to change that equation.”
The organizers hired
international political strategist Aron Shaviv, who spent weeks building a
statistical sample of 744 eligible American voters in Israel.
which was conducted by the Shvakim Panorama company and released exclusively to
The Jerusalem Post, found that 59.9 percent said they would likely, very likely,
or definitely vote in the US election, 19.6% said it was unlikely, and 18.1%
said they would definitely not cast their ballots.
When asked how they
felt about casting their ballots, 44.9% said they felt they had the same right
and responsibility as any American citizen to do so, 11.3% said they felt a
higher duty to vote, 19.1% had reservations about it, and 17.9% said they felt
they should not vote.
Among respondents, presumptive Republican candidate
Mitt Romney received 32.3%, compared to US President Barack Obama with 14.7%,
with 27.2 calling themselves undecided. The remaining respondents did not
provide an answer. Among the 27.2% undecided, 66% said they viewed Obama
unfavorably and 19.5% favorably, while 25.6% viewed Romney favorably and 17.3%
Unlike American Jews in the US, who polls have found put
domestic issues ahead of Israel, two-thirds of Americans in Israel say
Israel-related issues are key for them. When asked to define them, they cited
Iran, aid to Israel and the candidates’ position on territorial concessions in
Judea and Samaria.
When asked about Obama’s position on Israel, 63%
called it unfriendly and 33% friendly.
Asked about his position on the
Muslim world, 85% called it friendly and 7% unfriendly.
Abroad Israel cochairman Kory Bardash responded that the past three years have
given a solid majority of US voters in Israel an unfavorable impression of
“The fact that whether a president is favorable to Israel needs to
be asked is disturbing,” Bardash said. “It is unlikely that any candidate in
history, let alone an incumbent Democrat, has been perceived by so many as
unfriendly to Israel. Because of Obama and his policies, a lot of registered
Democrats in Israel will be crossing the line in this election.”
Schorer, spokesman for Democrats Abroad-Israel, said, “This was a poll that
apparently questioned most Republican voters, and does not accurately describe
true voting preferences. In 2008, the voters polled [now] said that they voted
for McCain 2 to 1 over Obama, although the actual vote was 78%-21% in favor of
“I believe that the upcoming election will show a
similar strong showing for the president. Only those people who are
irrevocably prejudiced against him will fail to recognize that President Obama
has proven himself to be a strong friend of Israel and that Israel would benefit
from his reelection.”