Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Road to the 19th Knesset

Fellow Jerusalmite Esser Agorot has posted Haveil Havalim #382 - The Dual Elections Edition  in honor of the interest generated by the US elections and the Israel elections to be held Tuesday, January 22, 2013.
In Israel voters go behind a partition and choose a piece of paper with the letters of the party they wish to vote for and put that in an official envelope which they were given.  When all the votes are counted the seats in the Knesset are divided among the parties proportionally.  If your party received 10% of the votes then you would get 12 Knesset seats.
But how do you know which 12 party members get the seats?  Each party submits a list of 120 names of would-be Knesset members.  Then in the order they are on that list, they take seats in the Knesset so in our example names 1-12 on the list become Knesset members.  If one of these 12 should happen to resign (or falls as in \bottles of beer on the wall') then the 13th name takes her place.  So the order on the lists submitted to the election board really matters.
The Likud party has primaries and anyone who becomes a member of the party can vote (after 16 months membership).  My favorite candidate on the Likud's list is Tzipi Hotovely.  At age 33 she is finishing up her first term in the Knesset with an impressive record as the Chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women as well as  some other important committee membership.  She is firmly planted in the nationalist wing of the party of the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.  She is an eloquent proponent of many important family issues as well an advocate for strengthening Jewish  settlements all over the country.
This week I answered a call to help out in her office as the primaries in the Likud are November 22.  I got there and joined a group of young people in stuffing envelopes (!) with flyers extolling her achievements in the 18th Knesset to be sent out to Likud members who will be voting in the primaries.
That brought back memories of the last time I stuffed envelopes in an election campaign.  It was 1966 and Bobby Kennedy was running for Senator from New York.  I went to a midtown New York City office with some friends and we were put to work stuffing envelopes with campaign material.
It was in that same election that I spent a Friday afternoon with some high school friends accompanying the candidate from one department store parking lot to another supermarket parking lot where he took to the platform and made a short speech to the cheering crowd and shook hands with anyone willing to step up.  Our 'job' was to go on the bus and arrive at each venue before Kennedy and hand out campaign material and lead the cheering when he showed up.  We were a very enthusiastic group of teenagers and did our job with gusto.
I was having a good time and thinking how nifty democracy is.  Then someone from the campaign came on the bus and said that since we had done such a great job we were all invited to have a fish dinner with Kennedy his staff at a nearby restaurant.  Remember it was 1966 and Kennedy was a Catholic and it was Friday.  It would be very exciting and really something to remember.  But it was Friday and I had to get home to light Shabbat candles with my mother.   It was a sunny breezy fall afternoon and I remember as if it were this morning the thought that went through my head a I got off the bus and headed in the opposite direction to my family and home.  No matter how integrated I might feel, in the end I would always be an outsider.


Batya said...

We haven't changed much, have we?

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