Thursday, July 12, 2012
Bi-National Israeli Americans, To Vote or Not To Vote?
According to American Law I have the right to vote in American Elections, but I've never done so.
I've lived in Israel two-thirds 2/3 of my life, which is a very long time. When we made aliyah, moved to Israel, voting age in The United States was 21, and we got on the boat between my twenty first birthday and election day. There was neither time nor reason to look for a voting district to register in.
In the days when you needed the help of an operator to call overseas, long before the Internet, cellphones etc, the distance between the USA and Israel seemed very far.
Making aliyah is more than just moving house and changing area codes.
Living in Israel is a full-time commitment and not a temporary "vacation."
I don't think that Israeli politicians and government leaders should make decisions according to American advice and mores and I don't think that American politicians should be expected to consider the advice of expats like myself.
My priority is Israel not the United States of America.
A few months before American Presidential Elections, there's always a lot of pressure on us Americans here in Israel to request overseas ballots and vote for the candidate we think will be best for Israel. Of course, both candidates always have their Israeli committee which campaigns that their guy would do the most to protect Israel. Almost every candidate in recent decades has also vowed to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, but none of them have done it.
Most years there's no real choice between candidates. I could choose by flipping a coin, because I know that once they've rearranged the furniture in the personal First Family Apartment, they can't be trusted to do anything earth shattering good for Israel. They're all the same.
One reason was best explained in the excellent comedy, or political satire TV series, Yes, Minister. It's really the permanent "non-political" civil servants who run governments, not the elected officials like the President. They are the people who research and write up all sorts of reports to give the officials information to help them make decisions.
Also, I don't want foreigners telling Israel what we should do, and although I have full intentions of keeping my American citizenship and passport, I don't think I have a moral right to vote in American Elections.