Monday, November 26, 2012

The Muddy Path to Israeli Democracy, Likud Style

The area around the polling station in Shiloh looked festive, but we had to walk through the mud to get there.

Because I had night shift at work, I needed to vote in the morning.  A friend had called me up in a panic just before I left the house.  She had gotten two text messages telling her not to vote.  According to them, she should wait until the afternoon, since there were computer problems.  She wanted to know if I had any idea if they were legitimate.  I gave her the phone number of our top local Likud guy who then told her to show up; the glitches weren't all that bad.

While waiting for my friend I spoke to some of the young people manning the tables scattered around the parking lot near the polling station.  I felt like I was giving a lecture in Israeli Political Science 101.  The Leah Nes employees (all were hired hands from what I could gather, not real fans of the candidates) were upset when I pointed out that I have very good reasons not to support her.  They told me I should vote for Nes, because she's a religious woman.  I asked how I could vote for her when she got low rating on the Mattot Arim statistics, not that they really knew what I was referring to, so I had to explain.  I told them that the numbers speak loudly. Their candidate didn't support or vote against the crucial bills that prove loyalty to Jewish Rights in the Land of Israel.  They mentioned that she's a deputy minister and that explained it all.  I told them that I don't want to vote for someone who cares more about saving her seat, driver, perks than principles.  This was a totally new view of Israeli politics for them.  If I hadn't been so busy I would have spent more time teaching the kids working there.

Computerized elections do have their downsides.  One of the disadvantages is that there are always glitches-foul ups, technical problems.  Another problem is that it takes so long for many people to vote.  Some people, and it's not a matter of age, become paralysed when facing one of those interactive touch screens.

While waiting for a computer to be free, we were all given an easy to read (large print) piece of paper that included the names and code numbers of the candidates for us to check off and prepare ourselves so the actual voting could be as easy and quick as possible.  It would have had been nicer to have real privacy for this, but considering that I blog my politics, I really didn't care if someone spied my list. 

The hardest part was combining the Mattot Arim list of sitting MKs whom they rated as best for Jewish Rights in the Land of Israel with the wannabes in the Manhigut Yehudit (aka Feiglin) list.  We had to choose exactly twelve 12 of the candidates.

When it was finally my turn I very quickly voted and, just like last time,  I was upset to see that everyone else took so much longer.

I tried to avoid the mud when making my way home.  I mentioned the mud to a few people that I considered the mud and dirt sadly symbolic of the Likud.  Most people chuckled and agreed with me.  The greatest suspense seemed to be how would Bibi distort these primaries?

We all knew that he was scared that his supporters wouldn't bother to vote

It wasn't too disturbing when I got an sms telling me polls would close at midnight rather than 10pm, but this morning the news is that Netanyahu and henchmen are keeping under half the polling stations open today.  No doubt they are in his territory, not Feiglin's.

I guess the title of the Israeli political science course should really be "Turning Democracy into Corruption" or "Corrupting Israeli Democracy."


Neshama said...

Cannot anyone vote in any 'polling area'? I believe I read that (Netanyahu) in yesterday's Jlem Post. So even if your area is closed one could drive to another and vote there.

Alan said...

Mud is not dirt... it is wasted topsoil. Topsoil is more important to life, than the rains. Topsoil turning into mud where you vote is actually the Land of Israel literally getting washed away....

Batya said...

Neshama, not everyone has a car, and I think that most people who really wanted to vote managed to find time in a polling station yesterday. Now they're working hard to wake the dead...

Alan, obviously you have never cleaned a muddy floor or tried to launder a muddy outfit. Don't give me your topsoil line. It's dirt!