Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Election Day

Today is Election Day in Israel.

Tuesday is always a day I work from home and my husband getting a day off work would require some kind of miracle or the outbreak of war.
However the children are home as their school is being used as a polling station - our polling station to be specific.

The sky is grey and there is a strong wind bending the branches of the tree outside the window and for the first time in my life I'm almost reluctant to vote.

Polling stations have already been open for nearly 4 hours and although I'm pretty sure who I will vote for I'm not sure it is the right choice.
My husband and I frequently discuss our political choices, agreeing to disagree at times and using these discussions to cement our opinions in a non-adversarial forum.
But our lack of decision this time has left us listing who and why we wouldn't vote for this or that candidate rather that any positive belief in a certain party or politician.

Normally we are deluged with telephone messages from the candidate but I received one from Bibi and two from Benny Begin (!!): an English version more than a month ago and Hebrew last week.
Both hubby and I got surveys. His was from Barak while mine, which I refused to answer because I truly believe it should be a secret ballot, was from Bibi.
We have watched the various party political broadcasts but more for their entertainment value than as valid political information. Some of them were in Russian and some in Arabic, not all with Hebrew subtitles, and several seemed more suited to Youtube. The most amusing was Gil Kopatch as a shepherd for the Green Leaf Party and they must have be smoking something to think up this combination.

But after the laughter there is a serious decision to make.

I have been politically aware since I remember being aware. Politics was always an open subject for discussion in our house, amongst ourselves or with friends and I knew enough to be concerned when I saw the National Front on the news.
My mother always took me with her into the polling booth with her - showing me who she voted for and explaining why, even trying to explain why my grandmother voted differently.

I can well remember the general elections of 1979 and during the elections of 1983 I spent hours discussing politics with my school friends and teachers (I didn't go to a UK state school where it was generally considered taboo for teachers to discuss politics).

By the elections of 1987 was 18 and not only did I vote but I joined a party and actively campaigned.

In 1988 I moved to Israel where they were also holding general elections and as an Israeli citizen I had the right to vote. I decided against it as, isolated by my lack of Hebrew and living on a kibbutz, I felt unable to make a considered decision.

In 1992 Israel went to the polls again . I had moved house after the elections rolls were filed so I had to return to the area where I had lived during the army. Having only stayed there for a couple of hours every weekend I had no idea where my polling station was. Luckily I was met by a friend who gave me a lift in his car and another friend who was working for the elections was able to direct me to the correct ballot box.
In 1992 there were also elections in UK and although I had definite views about who I wanted in government I decided that I had no right to dictate the government in a country where I wasn't a resident.

This being Israel I have voted in many elections since then but despite many hard decisions I have never been so undecided.

Enough procrastination - I must go and vote!

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