Gaza evacuees vote in orange

Signs against Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included one that said, "Sharon would be ashamed of you."

Gaza Strip evacuee Jay Aisen believed he would boycott the elections to protest disengagement. But on Tuesday, he found himself standing in front of the polling station not once but twice. "I didn't want to waste my vote," he said. First he voted in the morning, then he returned with his wife in the afternoon, where they were among half a dozen people standing in line in Nitzan, the largest temporary housing project for the evacuees. Neveh Dekalim Local Council head Lior Kalfa said that contrary to expectations of low voter turnout among evacuees, it was estimated that more than 75 percent of them came out to vote in Nitzan, a higher rate than had voted nationwide. Orange ribbons fluttered off of the cars in the small parking lot by the station set up in a caravan. Two cars covered with Shas stickers were parked in the lot. A man wrapped in orange cloth walked through the housing project holding a large sign for Baruch Marzel's party, the Jewish National Front. Signs against Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hung on a number of homes, including one that said, "Sharon would be ashamed of you." Aisen said he opted for the Likud because he didn't like the internal politics of the National Union-National Religious Party, which identified itself as the settlers' party during the campaign. But he feared the Likud might fare poorly in this election compared with other right-wing parties. "It's a sympathy vote," he said. Standing in line, his wife Pnina said she still didn't know who she was going to vote for. It's likely to be the Likud, she said. For some of the voters, the choice was clear cut. Kadima was not their party of choice. Overwhelmingly, they cast their vote for right-wing and or religious options. "The National Union, because they stood with us in Gush Katif," said Meir Dahan, formerly of Neveh Dekalim. Former Nisanit resident Yosef Ben-Dahan, who wore a black kippa, said he was a long time Shas voter and that this election was not different than past ones. But Mazal Tzror of Kibbutz Yavne, who was voting in Nitzan even though she is not an evacuee, said that she had to think long and hard when it came to casting her vote. She is among the NRP voters who are angry at the party because they believe it did not do enough to halt disengagement. In the end she said, she opted against Marzel out of fear he would make it into the Knesset and rejected Israel Beiteinu because it isn't a religious party. "I'm voting NU-NRP, but I don't feel good about it," she said. Judah Abramowitz of Kfar Maimon said he wasn't so calculating. He simply went for the politician he liked - Marzel. Former Netzer Hazani resident Anita Tucker said that this election "was a hard one. I didn't know who I would vote for until I put my paper in the envelope. I was annoyed with the NU-NRP, but in the end, I voted for them anyway." On Election Day she discovered one of the few silver linings to her status as an evacuee: She could vote anywhere in the country she wanted. Since she was in Jerusalem, she went to a polling station there. Standing by the myriad of white slips, she contemplated Marzel, but discounted him. She feared that even if he got into the Knesset, he would not be strong enough to accomplish anything. It's also likely that his party would be declared illegal, she said. In the end, she said, she wanted her vote to make a statement to the nation, that what happened to her and her family should never happen again to anyone. The party that can best wage that fight is the NU-NRP, she said."They are the party that has the spirit of Gush Katif," she said.