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Most English-speaking voters interviewed randomly in the Jerusalem area ahead of Tuesday's elections said they were voting for right-wing parties.
Michelle Wolgel, 46, a resident of the orthodox Mitzpe Navo neighborhood of Ma'aleh Adumim, has deep-rooted political convictions. She grew up in Staten Island, New York, made aliya in 1987 and is currently working as an attorney in Israel and the US. When asked which party she would be voting for, she replied, "the orange party," referring to the religious right-wing National Union-National Religious Party bloc.
One decisive reason why Wolgel is voting for the bloc is because she believes they are the only party to be trusted not to withdraw from any more settlements. She harbors an unforgiving resentment toward the government for withdrawing from Gaza and for the way in which the government handled the evacuated settlers, not least among them, her own daughter. To this day, she sends food to former residents of Gush Katif.
Formerly of New Jersey, 24-year-old Chaim Landau came to Israel in 1999 to study in yeshiva and earn a Bachelor's degree from Bar-Ilan University. He made aliya in 2003. Although he is currently studying international relations at the London School of Economics, he considers Israel his permanent home.
Landau believes that Kadima is the only party responsible enough to take, what he claims are, "necessary steps to end the occupation of a hostile Arab population." He immigrated to Israel in order to live in a Jewish state with a Jewish majority, he said.
He is deeply concerned about the demographic issue of maintaining a Jewish majority in Israel and views disengagement as a means of preserving such a majority.
Jared Goldfarb, a 32-year-old Jerusalemite, has been voting Meretz since making aliya from New Hampshire nearly a decade ago. He works as the program director of Ta-Shma, an organization that provides Jewish educational programming.
The issues in this election most important to him are social economic policy and human rights. He views Meretz as a progressive party that looks to the future and focuses on issues other than security. He believes that Israel faces other problems that deserve to be addressed instead of taking a back seat to issues of security.
"Meretz is a thinking person's party," he said. "Security should not be the only issue in Israel."
Goldfarb describes his political approach to Israel as one on a global stage and which incorporates liberal ideals. Meretz, in his view, takes the same approach.
Twenty-nine-year old Josh Cline made aliya a year and a half ago from the Boston area and is currently studying Israeli politics at The Hebrew University's Rothberg International School. Cline will be voting for Likud in the coming elections.
Cline also feels strongly about Jewish and Zionist education to new immigrants, which he claims is deficient. He believes that Jewish and Zionist education is crucial for the future of the Jewish state. For Cline, Likud is the party that represents those ideals.
He has decided to vote for Likud because he views the party as being strong on defense and unwilling to concede territory without any concessions on the Palestinian side.
"Until the Palestinians can form a legitimate government, one which has the support of the majority of Palestinians and does not support the destruction of Israel, we should not make any concessions," he said. "Israel should not unilaterally withdraw."
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