Everybody, be proud of Israel, go out and vote, say new voters

First-time voters share their experience

Fieda Katz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Fieda Katz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In 1946, Frieda C. Kufeld boarded a boat from the US to attend the World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where she was a delegate for the Young Mizrachi Women organization. Many decades later, her son David feels he has come a full circle by voting in the Israeli election for the first time, as he explained to The Jerusalem Post.
“We did not have to spend days on a boat directed to Europe right after the end of the Second World War – for us it was much more comfortable. However, it still feels like a very special moment; we are very excited and proud,” Kufeld said.
He and his wife Suri made aliyah last summer from Long Island, New York, and even though they were already in Israel during the September elections, they did not yet have the right to vote.
David Kufeld (Courtesy)David Kufeld (Courtesy)
Kufeld, 61, already lived in the country in the 1980s when he was a basketball player for Maccabi Ramat Gan, a team in the top division of the Israeli professional league.
“I ironically played as a foreign player,” he recalled.
Today he serves as the director of Advertising & Client Relations for a New York-headquartered law firm, and he still often travels back to New York. He explained that for him, making aliyah was fulfilling a dream.
“My wife and I believe that this is the place for all Jews, besides for the fact that our children and grandchildren are here. It took us a long time to move, but we made it,” he told the Post.
Kufeld described himself as “politically very conservative” but added that he did not feel ready to share for whom he voted. “As an American, I’m still uncomfortable discussing this kind of topic; maybe it will change in a few years,” he said.
“For an oleh [new immigrant], it is very significant to be part of the electoral process here. We might not understand everything, but we are here to make a difference. At the end of the day, we already voted for Israel by deciding to move here,” he concluded.
OTHER FIRST-TIME voters also said they felt proud to take part in the process for the first time.

“I’m the first one in my family to vote in an Israeli election,” 19-year-old Frieda Katz told the Post, adding that all members of her family were very eager to participate in her experience, discussing with her how they would vote if they could. “I was happy to vote also for them.”
For Katz, this is also her first time taking part in an election. She is originally from Dallas, Texas, and could have had an opportunity to vote for the Senate in the US but she didn’t.
“In Texas there is a vast majority of right-wing voters, so I don’t feel my voice would have mattered so much. Here, every single one does,” she said. For that reason, going to the polls really made her feel part of the new country.
“My mother is from Panama and I never felt at home in the US – but on the other hand I never felt at home in Panama [either],” she added. “Nothing gave me the feeling that Israel does.”
Katz is currently doing national service at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
She explained that her Israeli politics is different than her American one. “I voted Likud; here I support a right-wing government with a strong Jewish presence,” she said.
“I am honored to vote here. I hope I don’t have to do it again in three months, but if it happens, I’ll do it gladly,” she concluded.
Tali Najmanovich is also in national service at Shaare Zedek. She made aliyah just a month ago from Porto Alegre, Brazil.
“Going to the polls was fine – normal. I voted for Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu]. I’m not thrilled about him but I think he is the best of all candidates, and right now we need someone strong,” she told the Post.
Tali Najmanovitch (Courtesy)Tali Najmanovitch (Courtesy)
The 20-year-old said that she already feels part of Israel.
“I believe that voting is an obligation; we have the responsibility to decide for our future,” she pointed out. “Everyone should go out and vote, it only takes a few minutes. Coming from Latin America, I know very well what bad politicians are. Here we are in the best country in the world, especially for Jews – and we have to be proud of it, even if not everyone sees that. We must care,” she concluded.

Yedidia Mascetti said that he was confident that this time the election would have a more defined outcome, which would finally give the country a government.
“I’m a little scared, but also optimistic because I read that a lot of people went out and voted. I think the Israeli public is tired of this situation and people want to go out and make a difference,” he told the Post.
Mascetti turned 18 in August and was already able to vote in the September election. Both times he supported the Labor Party, although he pointed out that there was a big difference between the two times.
“In September I was very excited to vote for the first time, but I was not so confident in who I was choosing. I did not do my research and I mostly followed what my friends said. This time I actually prepared and I was happy to confirm my choice,” he highlighted.
“I think that Labor-Meretz is the party that has the approach to the country that I agreed with the most, and the same is true for its economic platform,” he explained.
Yael Tsabari, another first-time voter, said she firmly believes that it is important to go out and vote.
“My voice counts. Maybe it wouldn’t if I was to think of myself as just one individual, but all together we make a difference,” she told the Post.
Tsabari turned 18 in December and voted for the first time on Monday. She said that all her friends voted.
“When elections were held last April, I thought that it would be years before the next round, when I would be old enough to vote. In September, we already knew that another election was coming soon,” she said.
The young woman explained that she voted for “a right-wing party” because “I feel it represents me in the best way.”
She expressed confidence that this time a government will be formed, putting an end to the political stalemate.
“I don’t think we are going to vote again soon, because I think that the country cannot afford it and that we learned from our mistakes,” she told the Post. “At least I hope so.”