'Israelis abroad should vote'

PM backs Israel Beiteinu bill which would "help shape Israel's identity."

February 8, 2010 16:19
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Bibi smiling and pointing 311 ap. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his support on Monday afternoon for a bill which would allow Israeli citizens to vote even if they live abroad.

“It will strengthen our connection with Israelis abroad and help shape the identity of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said during Monday’s Likud faction meeting. He added that the bill may also prevent discrimination.

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The bill is part of Netanyahu’s agreement with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his party Israel Beiteinu, the second-largest member of the coalition. If approved, the bill may benefit right-wing political parties.

Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni harshly criticized the initiative in a statement released later on Monday. “The right to determine Israel’s fate must lie in the hands of those who live in Israel and are willing to bear the brunt of their decisions,” she said in the statement.

While Livni said Israelis who have left the country “should be encouraged to cultivate ties to [Israel] and to return to it,” she remained adamant that they must not be allowed to determine its government.

“During his first year in office and also today, Netanyahu has proved that he is prepared to sell the country’s future out to his political partners,” Livni’s statement concluded.

At Monday’s Israel Beiteinu faction meeting, Lieberman said that the bill would be voted on in the coming weeks. He went on to denounce his political opponents, stressing that the current coalition enjoys widespread public support.

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