Travelers display elections apathy

Ben-Gurion Airport remains bare of campaign signage.

ben gurion airport298 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ben gurion airport298 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Travelers passed through Ben-Gurion Airport Monday with little thought of voting. As vacationers prepared to leave the country the day before elections, they reflected the same general apathy for today's election that has been displayed throughout Israel. The number of those leaving was not higher than usual, but there were also few visitors coming specifically to vote. Unlike in previous years, there wasn't an abundance of specially arranged flights from abroad to bring in supporters. One anonymous security worker told The Jerusalem Post that the environment at the airport was "business as usual" and noticed no significant fluctuation in travel. Commenting on why, one shopkeeper said, "Nobody really cares about the election. They just want to leave for the holidays." Maital Elharar, an airport security worker, echoed the sentiment: "Well, it is Pessah time, so people will travel. I don't think the election is a factor." The broad apathy among Israelis has left some political analysts questioning what originally was predicted to be a Kadima landslide. Over the past few weeks, Kadima and Likud have slipped in polls, while smaller parties have gained slight momentum. Nonetheless, the drama that has characterized the pre-election campaign in cities throughout the country was nowhere to be found in Israel's international airport. For some of those choosing to travel instead of participating in Tuesday's elections, their abstention is a political statement in and of itself. Shalom Dov Israel Levi, a 23-year-old haredi, spoke to the Post of his plans to travel to Uman in Ukraine rather than stay in Israel for elections. But the political landscape at Ben-Gurion wasn't all bleak. Just as some travelers left the country without regard for the impending election, some Israelis returned deliberately in time to vote. "We're tired from our flight, but we came back just to vote in the election," reported one family.