ballot box 88.
(photo credit: )
As of Tuesday, Israeli children will for the first time be able to vote in the country's national elections - albeit only in the virtual world of cyberspace.
A new Web site launched by the Education Ministry, www.kids.gov.il, offers schoolchildren information and interactive activities during the countdown to March 28. The Web site, currently devoted to the upcoming elections, will be expanded to offer information about the Israeli government and current events.
The purpose of the Web site's election page is to introduce the subject of government to children from first through eighth grades, using activities they enjoy to educate them about democracy.
Both acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Education Minister Meir Sheetrit expressed their support of the site, according to the Education Ministry's spokesperson.
"The site educates students to be active citizens, and allows them to participate and have an influence on the social level," Sheetrit said.
One of the Web site's highlights is an on-line version of the election process which allows children to register as "young voters,"to suggest elections slogans for different parties, and to cast a virtual ballot.
The site also includes information about elections in Israel and elsewhere, the history of elections, propaganda, the formation of political parties, and the voting process.
By Tuesday evening, between 50-200 users had participated in a series of surveys posted on the site. Approximately 33% of those who answered a survey about lowering the legal voting age said it should be lowered to 16. Approximately 50% of those who replied regarding whether or not they would like to become politicians said they would not be interested.
Only about 12% of those answering a survey about school violence thought the problem could be solved through legislation. Less than 50% of those who answered a survey about the upcoming elections said they would have voted in them if they could.
When asked to rate the importance of economic, security and social issues in the upcoming elections, the majority of those surveyed said they believed that social problems were the most important.