Knesset speaker backs letting Israelis vote abroad

The initiative is expected to receive the support of every party in the coalition, plus Yisrael Beytenu in the opposition. But every other opposition party would oppose it.

December 17, 2018 20:57
1 minute read.
Knesset speaker backs letting Israelis vote abroad

A voting box in the last Israeli election in 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The effort to enable Israelis to be able to vote when they are abroad gained another boost on Monday, when Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein gave his endorsement.

Edelstein joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has backed the idea for years, and Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, who came on board two weeks ago with great fanfare.

“I don’t see why Israel should be different from the United States, France or Russia,” Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post at the Knesset. “Anyone who says enabling Israelis abroad to vote will have a huge political impact that will shift elections doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Edelstein predicted that only around 30,000 Israelis abroad would vote. He said that even if they would all vote for Likud, it would only change the election results by one mandate.

The initiative is expected to receive the support of every party in the coalition, plus Yisrael Beytenu in the opposition. Every other opposition party will likely oppose it.

“I am against letting Israelis abroad vote,” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told the Post at his party’s weekly faction meeting. “It must be voting in polling stations here that decides whether missiles will fall on our homes here. Other countries don’t face the same threats here. Voting must be limited to those who are here taking part in the mission of the state.”

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said that on principle he does not like the idea of letting Israelis abroad vote, and he thinks the majority of his party’s MKs would agree with him. He said he would discuss it with his Zionist Union faction, which includes MK Nachman Shai, who has been a proponent of the proposal for many years.

Netanyahu said in last Sunday’s cabinet meeting that now is the time to advance absentee balloting, following Herzog’s endorsement.

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