Election Day “Live Blog”

by Brian on January 22, 2013

in A Parent in Israel,Politics

Merav votes(I decided to “live blog” election day from the Blum family perspective. The first part appeared on the Israelity website only. Here’s part two.)

I don’t know if it was the fresh air or the physical exertion of our two-hour  hike earlier in the day (see the previous post), but we did it. We all made up our minds and voted.

The news has been saying that voter turn out has been the highest in at least a decade, although you wouldn’t know it from our polling place – there was no line at all. Perhaps it was the weather – it’s been an unseasonably warm day; on our hike we actually had to put on sunscreen, hats and I wish I’d worn shorts.

We weren’t alone on the trail. It felt like Independence Day, the only other national day off that doesn’t double as a Jewish holiday. At one point we actually had to wait our turn in line to get through a narrow section of the hike, and the smell of barbecuing meat filled the electoral air. Had all these people already voted, like us? Were they still debating the merits of Meretz, the future of Yair and the strength of Netanyahu as they flipped their burgers under the trees?

This is not the first time I’ve gone to the ballot box, of course – I just did a quick count: I’ve voted for 10 U.S. presidents and in 6 Knesset elections. But this was the first time for both of my two older children. That makes it the first election of the “next generation,” that is, of my kids’ generation, at least. For many of my friends, who are around the same age, who made aliyah to Israel around the same time (for us, it was 18 years ago) and have children in or out of the army, this is a different but equally fundamental fulfillment of our decision to immigrate here.

It’s an inspiring thought. By raising children here, we also raised voters. That may sound obvious, but when you cherish the democratic process that flourishes in Israel, the idea can be transformative. If the country swings to the right or to the left or if it stays the same, I will have had, to some extent, three votes in the process (even though they may not all agree).

And now it’s over. All the excitement and discussion and arguing and passion comes down to one moment – dropping that slip in the envelope and the envelop in the cardboard box. Yes, sure, now there’s the drama of coalition building, but voting is akin to other life moments that pass a person from one status to another: marriage, children, death. (If I’m listing the unavoidables in life, I probably should include taxes too, but that’s a “moment” that keeps on going and going.)

So now we wait. At 10:00 PM and 1 second Israel time, all of the major media will announce the results of their individual exit polls. Maybe it will be so close that in the morning, a different party will be on top, like back in 1996 when we went to sleep believing that Shimon Peres would be the next prime minister and woke up to Bibi.

See you on the other side…

This post was also on Israelity today.

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