Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Reflections On The Elections

I can see the Knesset from my balcony. See the enlargement below.
April 9th 2019, General Election Day in Israel. I made my decision. It's only midday and we're at least 20 hours away from any results. However, here are some thoughts and observations on half way through election day.

1. There's a certain reverence in the polling station. perhaps it's the fact that we're all adults and young children. But maybe there's an unspoken awe of being part of a democracy and having the right to vote.

2 And camaraderie. Polling stations are a local thing, so obviously you meet people you know. And even people you don't know get chatting as they queue up outside the classrooms.

3. It felt like waiting to go into the nurse for a vaccination shot. The door opens and one person comes out then the person at the head of the queue goes in. The door shuts. You wait three minutes, and the door opens again for the next person. You go in all serious and, I swear, everyone comes out smiling. It was painless, I didn't feel a thing.

4. And you continue smiling as you emerge into the warm sunshine and walk down the road. As proud as if you've just finished a 12 hour shift at a soup kitchen. As proud as being a Jew able and free to vote in your own country.

And there it is, in the centre (hahaha),
third building from the top. 
5. There's a calm around us. Election Day is a national holiday so no one is in a rush. It's less frenetic than Fridays when you're working towards an early deadline - either the beginning of Shabbat or the shops closing at 3 pm. My friend Dina just wrote on Facebook, do  you know what that sound is outside? It's the sound of Sunday.

6. But also a bustle of celebration. families are out picnicking, hiking, and at the beaches. The cafes are full. With each of the 43 parties having a list of candidates up to 120 (but most far fewer) there are about 1,000 of them out on the streets, mingling with the public, shaking hands, visiting your table in the coffee shop. Remember this is a very small country. After such an aggressive and often nasty campaign period, it's good to see everyone just discussing over a cappuccino.

7. I don't understand the purpose of the exit polls. Why scramble to produce predictions only a few hours before the actual results? Seriously, go to the beach.

8. In a few short hours I can turn my phone text notices on again and answer the landline without a barrage of recorded messages from political parties. Otoh, I know that today's happy atmosphere will disappear once more when the election results are announced. Like the Brexit recriminations, everyone who didn't get what they wanted will be sulking and whinging on facebook and in real life. My answer to all of them is, as always, "Darling, didn't you understand how a democracy works when you went to vote?"

It's no secret that I voted for Orly Levy's Gesher Party. Their letter code on the voting slip was nun resh. It spells out the word Ner, meaning candle. Now I'll be singing Sarit Hadad's Light a Candle all day. However, as the song goes, a thousand candles in the dark can open up our hearts.


  1. I'm just in from my volunteer session and the news reports say Netanyahu is in the lead and will form the govt. (with lots of parties joining together to form a coalition) For such a small country you certainly have a lot of parties and candidates!
    We will have our next Federal election in November. We have 3 major parties and a few brings ones - the Green Party being the best known (environmental concerns are their main scope). Thankfully our election campaigns only last 6 weeks - although the pre-election posturing and budget goodies have started already!
    I have worked for Elections Canada at the last two elections - a municipal one and a provincial one and will probably work the federal one as well. I'm the Revising Officer - if people aren't on the list - but should be according to where they live - I update the lists. I always find it interesting and it is particularly fun to see how interested even young children are in the process.
    The one issue we have with being such a large country (I believe it's 5 time zones) - they start broadcasting results & prognostications as soon as the east coast polls close. They don't broadcast things on the national networks until polls close in each zone but with the internet it means that sometimes they are calling winners before some people have even voted!
    Hope the results are to your liking.

    1. That's interesting about announcing winners while some polling stations ate still open. I don't suppose it matters as it can influence people wither way. Yes, it looks like Bibi won but it ain't over till the coalition has been agreed. Some of us are still hoping for a unity government with both the big parties together.