First Time Voter: Voting for the future

Ilanit votes for the first time (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ilanit votes for the first time
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As I left the office, I began to riffle through my bag.
My heart pounding. Where could it be?
I had been looking forward to voting as an Israeli citizen for the first time for months. But I needed my ID card if I was to fulfill this “dream.”
I had agonized for weeks over who I would vote for and finally, on Tuesday morning, Election Day, I woke up and made peace with my decision.
As I sat on the bus and continued to look for my Teudat Zehut, I began to think:
“I built all these feelings up for months, nerves, excitement... I felt it’s a rite of passage to have this opportunity, to vote for the first time. Does that mean I’m not really Israeli if I don’t get to vote because I can’t find my ID book?”
Disappointment began to flood through me.
Two women sitting next to me and opposite me on the bus could see I was worried.
One asked what was wrong and I told her that I’m 22 months into Aliyah “and I can’t find my Teudat Zehut. I’ve been looking forward to voting for so long.”
They understood my concern and on top of wishing me “mazal tov” and telling me I’m crazy to have moved here alone, they suggested side pockets, front zips and all other places to look.
I got off the bus and decided to start emptying things.
“Eureka!” I shrieked as I found it all the way at the bottom of my bag.
I took a slow walk to the school, passing the parade of activists campaigning for why I should vote for their party.
“I’ve made my decision,” I said confidently in Hebrew to each.
As I finally arrived at my voting station in Baka, I stopped and a smiled.
“Finally, this is it.”
A woman directed me to the right door and as I walked in a group of friendly volunteers who were dealing with the voters greeted me.
As I gave in my Teudat Zehut, one of the men said, “You look very excited, first time?”
“Yes!” I said excitedly.
The entire group as well as those in line behind me began to cheer, wished me “mazal tov” and good luck!
As they handed me the blue envelope I headed to the booth.
Without hesitating, I picked up the ballot paper and, with a huge smile on my face, I placed it into the envelope and walked out from behind the booth.
The group began to clap and cheer loudly.
I had a photo placing my envelope inside the box and thanked the volunteers for their warmth.
I couldn’t help smiling all the way out, a sense of pride emanating from every fiber of my being.
Afterwards, I met up with a close friend who has been like a parent to me for the last 22 months and we treated ourselves to ice chocolates from Aroma.