Today the country goes to the polls and is voting for parliament, the Knesset, and to encourage voting, it is a public holiday.
There is a Dutch website called Electoral Compass IL that allows the average Joe to place his own views with respect to those political parties running in the election here. I took it just for the heck of it — I know which party I'm voting for. But I wanted to see if my views tallied with those of the political party I chose.
It would be an interesting experience for anyone who does not live here who feels he has opinions as to how this country should run. Your views will sit in a circle (or oval) within a square compass with the left wing on the left, the right wing on the right, the hawkish view on the top and the dovish view on the bottom. I'm at the top, a hawk, with left-centrist views economically. At least so says this compass. I suspect that the majority of you, if you decide to take the survey attached to the Electoral Compass, will find yourselves near the bottom, probably near the center economically, with a lot of you towards the right.
In any event, the symbols for the political parties are all there with their own position on this compass. If you click on the parties, you'll get a description of their views lined up against the survey questions asked, and how they look at the survey question and, if you took the survey yourself, how you looked at it.
In Israel, when you vote for parliament, you vote only for a party. Each party has a Hebrew letter – or series of Hebrew letters – on a small sheet of paper, a pétek, that is deposited in an envelope which is then deposited in a box. The number of seats the party gets is determined by the percentage of the vote it receives in toto. A political party, in order to be seated in parliament, has to receive at least 2½% of the votes cast. I'm voting for ha'iHúd ha'leumí, the National Union Party, whose symbol is the Hebrew letter ט – "tet". For me, it is the least offensive of all the choices.
The National Union describes itself as being "strong on Zionism." Well, you've seen me write this here before. I believe that Zionism is a dead letter in Israel. But these guys are a bit behind the learning curve in terms of phraseology. That's okay. It is the substance of what they believe in that is getting my vote. They believe, as do I, in a single Jewish state stretching from the Jordan to the sea, including Gaza. They believe in a Jewish leadership for the nation, and that publicly the Sabbath and Jewish Law should be observed. For example, if someone wants to blast his TV during the Sabbath in his own home, for example, that's his own business — this is not a theocracy being advocated.
The National Union represents that portion of this country's population that was against the Oslo Accords, and who warned of the disasters that would follow in the wake of withdrawal from south Lebanon and from expelling fellow Jews who lived in Gush Qatif in Gaza. We were right and the traitors who inflicted all these things upon us were wrong — and they do not have the either the guts or integrity to admit it.
For this reason, I will not vote for Labor, or Méretz (which is the party closest to my economic orientation), or any of the religious parties. When the hour of testing came, all the religious parties failed the test, preferring money or power over a path of righteousness.
The polls opened at 07:00 this morning (opening at 08:00 where I live) and will close at 22:00 this evening (21:00 out where I live). The soldiers on duty have already voted.
It is likely that Binyamin Netanyahu's Likúd Party will get the most seats and that he will be invited to form a government. He keeps talking of a national unity government, as well of a second Arab state in what was Mandate Palestine and all of the political parties mentioned below, Labor (Ehud Barak), Kadíma (Tzipora Livni) and Yisraél Beiténu (Avigdor Lieberman), fundamentally agree on this. All of them disgust me. So, I'll vote my conscience and thank G-d there is someone I can vote for. I'll be putting the pétek marked "ט" in the envelope and I'll pray that many of my fellow Jews here will do the same when they vote.