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The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel has endorsed a petition calling for direct regional elections.
"This is a quality of life issue, not a politics issue," David London, executive director of AACI, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
"Many North Americans feel the need for regional representation. Everyone feels uncomfortable with the current system of government. We need more accountability," London said.
The petition was created by CEPAC, Citizen's Empowerment Public Affairs Campaign, a grassroots volunteer organization that seeks to have half of MKs elected by region, with the remaining half elected by party list, as under the current system.
"We began with the expectation of demanding even more regional representation, but we've evolved to realize that a 60/60 split is more realistic," said Elaine Levitt, chairwoman of CEPAC.
CEPAC's next step would be to call a referendum on the issue, which Levitt hopes will not be necessary. The group is knocking on doors and has collected a few thousand names.
"There is a great deal of interest among Hebrew speakers as well, this is not just an Anglo project. Whenever we knock on doors, they sign," she said.
They have received support from MK Avishai Braverman (Labor) and Law Committee Chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima). The lawmakers were not available for comment.
CEPAC plans to meet with MK's from all parties. "Last week we met with representatives from a religious party which showed full support. The issue of religion did not even come up. There is unanimous agreement from all sides that we need change," Levitt said.
The NGO hopes that regional elections will encourage more citizens to get involved in the political process. "You're not seeing good young people go into government in this country. They are choosing industry over government because it is so corrupt. We can change that," she said.
Levitt believes legislators are too far removed from those they represent. "An MK told me that there is nothing wrong with the government, they simply receive bad media coverage. That exemplified the problem to me. Many of our representatives have no idea that there is a problem," Levitt said.
"We want to do this and go out of business. We are not here to overthrow the government, we want to use the legal process and make a change," she said.
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