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Lifkin Shahak. Signed petition Photo: Niv Calderon
Lifkin Shahak. Signed petition Photo: Niv Calderon
 
 

Ex-generals: Don't let expatriates vote

High-profile ex-generals, including former Chief of Staff Lipkin Shahak, sign Kadima petition objecting to legislation that would allow expats to vote in elections; Controversial bill to be brought up for discussion at Knesset committee Sunday

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 02.11.10, 00:48 / Israel News

Several retired IDF generals have signed a Kadima petition objecting to a bill that would allow Israeli expatriates to vote in the country's general elections.

 

The controversial bill, endorsed by two main coalition parties Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, is scheduled to be brought before the Ministerial Committee on Legislation Sunday.

 

Others Opposed
Labor, Shas against Israelis voting abroad / Attila Somfalvi
Labor faction Chairman Simhon says coalition agreement explicitly bars bill to allow Israelis living abroad to vote in elections. Shas also says bill unacceptable. Opposition also expected from within Likud as Begin, Meridor already said would not support initiative
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However, Kadima has expressed its staunch resistance to the proposed legislation, and has now enlisted several high-profile former generals to the cause.

 

The most prominent names on the list at this time are former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak and former Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky.

 

Other former generals who signed the petition against the bill include Amos Yaron, Ami Ayalon, Amiram Levin, Danny Rothschild, and Amos Lapidot.

 

The petition, entitled "We vote only in Israel", reads: "We the signatories, citizens of Israel who devoted our best years to the defense of Israel and its fortification, believe that the right to make decisions in the country should be granted to those who live here and see their future here. We object to any bill aiming to grant this important right to those who chose to leave Israel and seek their future elsewhere."

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promoting the bill, proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu, which will allow citizens holding an Israeli passport for at least 10 years to vote in the general elections from abroad.

 

Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said he supported the bill because "it will contribute to better communication and to Israel's strength."

 

However, the prime minister's announcement sparked major controversy in the Knesset.

 

The Labor Party rushed to object to the bill, while Shas declared it would only support a bill allowing students, envoys, and those residing abroad for short periods of time to vote from outside the country.

 

According to the Immigration Absorption Ministry, about 750,000 Israelis are currently living abroad, and most are said to endorse Israel's rightist camp.

 

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