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Israeli 2022 Elections: Voices In The Crowd

For Platform's 15th edition, we asked Israelis from different backgrounds about the November elections in Israel and to share some insight about the factors that influenced their decision to vote for their preferred party/candidate. Their answers were a reflection of some of the social, religious, and political divisions within Israel.

Question 1: Who did you vote for and why?

Yoel from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): I voted for Gimmel (UTJ).

Eliyahu from Ariel (National-Religious): I voted for Bibi because I was tired of the disarray the current government was displaying.

Moshe from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): I voted for the Likud. I decided to vote for them but only because I felt I had no choice [as a right-wing voter]. I didn't want to vote for Bibi because of his COVID policies, including the lockdowns and green passports. My thinking on that matter is very similar to the outlook of Republicans in the US.

Yonah from Zichron Yakov (Secular): I voted for Labor. I decided to vote for them mostly because of Labor's renewal and Meirav Michaeli's new approach and agenda that she brought forward, as well as Labor's list [of candidates]. My support for Labor was actually more based on Labor's list which is a group of some really good people. I also like the fact that they advance a social-democratic and economic agenda that's very needed in the political discourse in Israel. I want to see more candidates talking about economic issues here, for both the left-wing and right-wing. For example, I like Naama Lazimi, who is number 2 on the party's list and part of the reason I voted for Labor was to support her. So I'm glad that she advanced in the party and that she's in the Knesset, this time around.

Shlomo from Jerusalem (National-Religious): I voted for [the] Religious Zionism [Party].

Shira from Jerusalem (Secular): I voted for Avigdor Lieberman. I vote for him because I agree with his opinion when it comes to economics and geography. Additionally, I think he is the only one I can trust and know what I’m getting, he is one of the few people in Israeli politics that really stand behind their words and political agenda.

Adi from Herzliya (Secular): I voted for Bibi, mostly because my parents wanted me to, but also because I didn't like any of the other candidates more than him.

Ido from Herzliya (Secular): I voted for Yair Lapid, firstly because that would mean buses on Saturdays, which would be amazing for everyone. He also wants to give more rights to Arabs which I believe they don't necessarily have, and I think they should have. I think that would make our relations with Arab nations better too, if we were more accepting of them.

Question 2: When did you decide to vote for your candidate and was there any event or circumstance that could've changed your vote?

Yoel from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): I decided within a week. The reason is that I support Likud but I want the Religious [parties] to have a voice in that government. It seemed obvious to me they would only choose to enter a coalition with the Likud and not the left. Nothing would have really changed my vote.

Eliyahu from Ariel (National-Religious): I knew early on that I was gonna vote for BIbi, if the internal security situation had been much better I might have voted differently.

Moshe from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): I would've voted for Betzalel Smotrich if he hadn't joined [Itamar] Ben Gvir and ran on a separate ticket. Since he joined Ben Gvir, I decided to vote for Bibi instead.

Yonah from Zichron Yakov (Secular): I decided to vote for Labor, last election, before they entered the government. So, I don't know if there were any circumstances that would've changed my vote. Climate change is a very important issue for me, so if the party stopped prioritizing climate change, maybe that's something that would've been a reason to change my vote to another party that's similar to Labor. Maybe I would have also changed my vote, if there was a strategic reason for doing so. However, both Meretz and Labor were in danger of not passing the threshold [of receiving 3.25% of the total count]. I also believe in voting for smaller parties, even though I believe the system here in Israel should be fixed and I think there are too many parties, probably four is a good number. Still, on an ideological level, I think it's important to vote.

Shlomo from Jerusalem (National-Religious): Since the beginning, nothing would have really changed my vote.

Shira from Jerusalem (Secular): I decided to vote for Lieberman when I was 13 years old and there were elections in Israel. Every student needed to make a presentation about one of the people in Israel politics. I remember I heard his beliefs and values, and I immediately knew I really agreed with this Russian man and wanted to support him. And ever since then he never lets me down and just makes me “proud of him” because I feel like he is the only one I can trust.

Adi from Herzliya (Secular): I decided to vote like a day before, and I had to go all the way to Kiryat Gat to vote because that's where my address is, and I don't really think any circumstance could have changed my vote. Only if something drastic happened. For example, if something about Bibi came out, or he said or did something very wrong: in that case I would've maybe decided not to vote at all.

Ido from Herzliya (Secular): I was in my grandma’s house, and we were talking about the elections. They told me to vote for Yair Lapid, and I didn't mind it as long as it is not Bibi. I don't like Bibi and the fact that he has been in power for so long, just trying to stay in power. There was one more candidate people told me to vote for, a guy Yair Lapid was running [Benny Gantz] with, but then they stopped running together. Apparently he was pretty similar to Yair Lapid. If I had known more about it, I might have voted for him.

Question 3: Do you think Israel will change because of the outcome of this election and if so, how? If not, why?

Yoel from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): I think Israel will have better security and international relations with the Arabs with Netanyahu in charge.

Eliyahu from Ariel (National-Religious): I believe Israel will restrengthen itself for the better, with its foreign and domestic policies.

Moshe from Jerusalem (Ultra-Orthodox): Nothing will change, because politicians don't do anything.

Yonah from Zichron Yakov (Secular): Yes, absolutely. On the one hand, it's definitely a continuation of some of the trends that have been happening in recent years and I think some people have been over exaggerating the effects of this election [on Israeli society], it was very predictable and it's not like anything has changed dramatically. However, the elections marked a change for a few reasons. First of all, I think the status quo on religious issues will change dramatically. We've been seeing a shift to a much more religious government. Also, I think there will be a big change in the government's financing of certain groups. I think we will see a lot more money going to religious educational institutions. There will also be a big change in the justice system in Israel. Having people in the government who have not only been accused, but convicted of corruption, whether its [Aryeh] Deri or Bibi, or other people in the Likud, is another big change from this election. They are passing laws just to allow them to continue to serve and they are also trying to weaken the Supreme Court and if they succeed, that could also indirectly affect other issues also.

Shlomo from Jerusalem (National-Religious): I think that naturally it [the Israeli Government] will have a more right-wing policy [then the outgoing government] which will affect the security status quo and Judea and Samaria.

Shira from Jerusalem (Secular): I don’t think Israel is going to change after the election because it’s a right-wing coalition, and we already had plenty of right-wing coalitions. Maybe it will be less harsh but still pretty much the same.

Adi from Herzliya (Secular): I don't know how much Israel will change from this election, Bibi has been in power for a very long time, but he did make some promises of progress, so I'm optimistic about it.

Ido from Herzliya (Secular): I do think Israel will change because of the elections. It's already kinda starting with the guy who they put in charge of the education system who is extremely religious. He is not the type of person I would be comfortable with handling the education system. He is extremely homophobic and believes women should not be educated and similar terrible stuff. I think a person like that would make the already underfunded and bad education system only worse. The system is already awful and only becoming worse now, with what I assume much more of a focus on the Torah and stuff like that. I do not think this should be taught in schools. Bibi coming into power is awful in my opinion, with all the criminal charges and corruption. So I am very much against that kind of government for Israel. 

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