AIPAC attendees weigh in on Israel's elections

After a year with no government in Israel, AIPAC attendees hope this election can resolve the deadlock.

Speaking via satellite feed from Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019 (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
Speaking via satellite feed from Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019
WASHINGTON – Israel is headed to the third round of elections on Monday, and attendees at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington are following the latest reports closely. People at AIPAC "village" – the conference cafeteria, were trying to figure out on Sunday afternoon what could be different in the third round of elections.
Garry Axler from Chicago, Illinois, a member of the AIPAC congressional club, told The Jerusalem Post that he just got back from Israel, and that he pays close attention to the recent developments. "I have three children and 11 grandchildren who live in Israel, and in general, they want an outcome. They don't want to go to a fourth election," he said.
"So, no matter who wins at this point, the government is not functional, the social service agency is not getting money," he continued. "I spoke with a woman today from Israel who needed a cancer drug, and until December 31, that drug was not approved because there's no health budget. So, in general, no matter who people are for, they want it resolved."
He added that people at AIPAC deeply care about Monday's elections. "You wouldn't be here if you weren't very interested," he said, adding that it seems like the momentum is on Netanyahu's side.
Jeffrey Goldfarb from Brooklyn, New York, told the Post that he hopes to see the deadlock resolved. "I hope that they decide a winner after this recent election," he said. "I can't speak for the Israeli people. I only speak as an American, and I hope so. I hope that even if it's close and it's going to be close as the same way we have close elections here and these days, everything seems to be contested - I hope that they can find a consensus and they can move forward because the country needs to move forward, needs to have a budget, it needs to have things that make the country run. And that's what it takes."
"In a way, I think it's a little bit similar to what's going on here in the United States," Irvin Gollumback from Great Neck, New York, told the Post. "Unfortunately, nobody is moving to work together. I think that Netanyahu is trying to work to the, to the Gantz side, but Gantz is not trying to go to the other side, but regardless, they don't seem to be willing to compromise with each other in order to stop having these elections on a regular basis," he said. "Anything that will bring the two sides together in some way could be helpful."
Arlene Bridges Samuels, from Atlanta, Georgia, attended AIPAC for the 14th time. She said that she is following closely after the elections and hopes to see Prime Minister Netanyahu win. "I've been a pro-Israel Christian for a number of years. I have always been very pleased with Prime Minister Netanyahu," she said. "And even though I understand that there are charges against him, I look at the bigger picture of his representation of Israel and his decisions about Israel's position in the world," she continued.
"Because he is so articulate and so committed to the Jewish state safety and security, I fully support him. Whether he's done some of these charges or not, it's almost irrelevant to me. The bigger picture is more important to me because I think he has led Israel and an outstanding, really fine way."
Her husband, Paul Samuels, who is Jewish, joked: "I taught her to love Israel." He told the Post that he hopes to see Netanyahu elected as well, but otherwise – the unity government might be the answer.
"I'm hoping that [Netanyahu] will come through and be able to form a complaint and government," he said. "But if not, then certainly they must join forces and not continue with this rampage of an election. I think the things that get thrown at each other during the campaign are not real life. Real-life must go on," he continued. "And in real life, you must form a unity government. 'I'll take six months or a year and you'd take six months or a year,' whatever it is, we must do this for the people, and they must put aside their differences."