High school kicks off ‘reliable’ mock election

Mofaz and Yacimovich present their political positions to teenagers in Ramat Gan high school’s spacious conference hall.

Mofaz addresses Blich High School students 370 (photo credit: Danielle Ziri)
Mofaz addresses Blich High School students 370
(photo credit: Danielle Ziri)
Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz and Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich visited the students of Blich High School in Ramat Gan on Wednesday morning as the school began its traditional model election.
Both Mofaz and Yacimovich presented their political positions to the teenagers in the school’s spacious conference hall.
The simulation at Blich is typically known for its relatively accurate reflection of the results of past national elections.
For the past two weeks, the high-schoolers have been studying the ideologies and plans of each party running for Knesset in the January 2013 elections, following which they chose the party they identify with the most.
As the simulation began, fliers were given out in the schoolyard, which was adorned with posters of the candidates and filled with stands representing each party.
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The school also appointed an election committee, responsible for writing the election code of ethics that defines the allowed campaigning methods and the appropriate behavior during both speeches and the voting process itself.
“This exercise is important because they get to learn about each party’s position; they are involved, they are more interested and they take part in the social and political aspects of the country,” principal Revital Lev- Goren told Channel 2 on Wednesday.
“If we manage to predict the outcome this year as well, that will be great, but more so than the results, the process is what’s important, a process of active citizenship, of involvement, of learning and of action,” she added.
During his speech, Mofaz addressed a few subjects about which the students had asked, such as social issues, reaching an agreement with Palestinians and drafting soldiers from all sectors of society equally, including the haredi community.
Among other questions from students, Mofaz was asked about his position on the Iranian threat, to which he replied that Israel cannot let Tehran obtain a nuclear weapon, but that, in order to avoid a regional war, “the road to the solution needs to first be a diplomatic one.”
“Something I learned throughout my career in defense is that you can’t obtain everything through force. I believe in using force as the last alternative, not the first one,” he continued.
When asked to give his reaction to Tzipi Livni’s establishment of a new party, Mofaz answered, “What happened was a process of nonacceptance of democratic results. After losing the election for party leader, we expected her to stay and put all her efforts into helping Kadima remain as the main centrist party in Israel.”
“In my opinion, the cause and devotion are more important than being number two or number one. Her decision contradicts what I believe in, which is unity. In unity, there is much more power,” he said.
At the end of the speech, Mofaz praised the student’s civic involvement and shook hands with students sitting in the first few rows of the assembly hall.
“I connected very much to what he said,” 17-year-old Omer Lefkovit told The Jerusalem Post. “He talked about equality for army drafting and cheaper housing; those are issues that are important to me.”
Lefkovit stood by the Yesh Atid stand in the schoolyard, supporting his favorite candidate, Yair Lapid.
“I think Lapid stands for more or less the same things, but he has a concrete plan; he has a prepared method for what he wants to achieve.
The issue with Kadima is that they had 28 seats in the past election and they couldn’t figure out how to use that strength,” he explained.
Although he is too young to vote, Lefkovit said he considers it a duty.
“It’s important because we all live here. I live here and I’ll continue to live here, so I have to be active.”
Eight hundred students in the eleventh and twelfth grades at Blich High School will go to the polls next Thursday.
The school will host Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi’s Naftali Bennett on Thursday morning.
Shas’s Eli Yishai is also expected to speak at Blich during the week.