Israeli election ballots [File].
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The international religious-Zionist organization World Bnei Akiva Central Elections Committee head Justice Salim Joubran wrote on Wednesday asking to grant its emissaries the right to vote in the March 17 election.
Under the 2013 election, votes could be submitted abroad at embassies and consulates only by ambassadors, consuls and Foreign Ministry staff and regular employees of the Jewish Agency, World Zionist Organization and Jewish National Fund. The outgoing Knesset amended the law to also enable absentee voting by agency emissaries who are employed locally by Hillels, schools, and Jewish federations.
But dozens of emissaries around the world who were sent by World Bnei Akiva and not by the agency still do not have the right to vote. Bnei Akiva secretary-general Rabbi Noam Perl wrote Joubran that it is unfair that some emissaries can vote abroad and others cannot because of a bureaucratic technicality.
“Our emissaries work to strengthen Jewish identity and encourage aliya in Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora,” Perl wrote.
“It is unacceptable that emissaries engaged in Zionist work on behalf of Israel according to its values cannot participate in the upcoming election, and it must be changed.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely is a former emissary of Bnei Akiva in Atlanta.
Under chairman Natan Sharansky, the agency has significantly increased the number of emissaries sent to college campuses across North America. An agency spokesman said it has no comment on the request by World Bnei Akiva.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.