Bill Proposes Absentee Voting for Israelis Abroad

YERUSHALAYIM -
A polling station in Bnei Brak in 2015, in the last Israeli general elections. (Yaakov Naumi /Flash90)
A polling station in Bnei Brak in 2015, in the last Israeli general elections. (Yaakov Naumi /Flash90)

A bill to enable Israelis to cast absentee ballots during stays abroad has garnered broad support and will probably be adopted in the coming fall session, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

The bill drafted by MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) would only allow Israelis that voted in the previous election while in Israel to vote from abroad. This restriction is aimed at limiting the option to those who are out of the country for a relatively short period of time, not for Israelis who have left the country permanently.

The bill’s explanatory portion says its goal is to see that “democracy receives its maximum expression in the election results.”

“In the age of globalization, many citizens are abroad on election day, and they should be allowed to participate in elections through Israeli missions abroad, as most democratic countries in the world do, including: The U.K., Germany, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” it reads.

However, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On spied an anti-democratic agenda lurking in the proposal and urged her fellow leftists to oppose it.

“The real purpose of the initiative is to reduce the influence of Israeli Arab citizens on the results of the next election,” she contended. “That is not something that people [on the Left] should be able to accept or support.”

In addition, Gal-On warned of “a slippery slope that will lead to legitimization allowing all Israelis living abroad to vote.” People who have abandoned Israel to live elsewhere should not be able to influence the elections, since they do not have to live with the results, she argued.