69% of eligible Israeli voters abroad cast their ballots

More than 5,000 Israelis are entitled to vote outside the country.

By
September 8, 2019 06:24
2 minute read.
Israeli ballots in Washington DC on Septembber 5, 2019.

Israeli ballots in Washington DC on Septembber 5, 2019.. (photo credit: OMRI NAHMIAS)

Polls for Israelis living and voting abroad closed Friday morning, with 69% of 5,086 eligible voters casting their ballots, according to the Central Elections Committee.

The law allows Israelis serving the country abroad in some official capacity to vote. This includes members of the IDF, or workers for the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, United Israel Appeal or the World Zionist Organization.

Voting abroad for the September 17 took place at 97 Israeli missions around the world, including in Kigali, Rwanda, where three Israelis voted.

On Thursday at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Administrative Affairs and Consul Minister Dorit Zats, who oversaw the polling station for April 9 and September 17 elections, said she felt that voter turnout was low.

“In April’s elections, there were many more voters, but I think that it’s because a lot of them were Jewish Agency emissaries who were in DC for a conference,” she said.

Ophir Tal, who lives in New York but voted Thursday in Washington, came to the embassy at noon. When asked about the differences between voting in Israel and abroad, he said that “voting in Israel feels like a holiday.”

He described how in Israel people are focused on the elections on Election Day, whereas in the States on the day Israelis vote, “only the tiny Israeli community knows about it and no one else cares.”

At the Consulate-General of Israel in New York City, where a record number of 750 Israelis were eligible to vote, Adi Karsch expressed similar sentiments. She is a post-doctoral candidate at Cornell University who relocated from Jerusalem to New York for her husband’s job at the consulate.

“The whole experience has been very different voting here,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “In Israel, you leave feeling very festive. Election Day is really a holiday there. It’s also a very emotional day and you truly feel you are contributing – and then friends come together and barbecue.”

In contrast, in New York, she said that asking permission for time off work to vote was “uncomfortable.”

“But I feel privileged to be able to vote here and to take part in this democratic process,” she said.

In general, voter turnout among the emissaries and diplomats is higher than voter turnout in Israel, Elad Strohmayer, an embassy spokesperson, told the Post.

While overall turnout was 69%, in Washington, some 247 people voted with a voter turnout of 81%, according to Strohmayer.
The New York Consulate-General of Israel, however, is the body responsible for transferring sealed ballot boxes of all the North and South American diplomatic missions to the Central Elections Committee in Israel.

In general, voter turnout among the emissaries and diplomats is higher than voter turnout in Israel, Elad Strohmayer, an embassy spokesperson, told the Post.

While overall turnout was 69%, in Washington, some 247 people voted with a voter turnout of 81%, according to Strohmayer.

The New York Consulate General of Israel, however, is the body responsible for transferring sealed ballot boxes of all the North and South American diplomatic missions to the Central Elections Committee in Israel.


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