Israelis who opted to go on vacation on Election Day in lieu of voting

One man says despite election race being tighter than ever, him and his partner preferred to get away, promising to be back for next round of national vote, while a Likud backer apologizes to Netanyahu for traveling instead of voting

Roi Rubinstein|
Despite the importance of the national vote, more than 26,000 Israelis are set to go on a vacation outside Israel on Election Day, spending the national holiday travelling in lieu of voting.
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  • Among those who hurried to leave a day before elections were some who said they did not believe their votes would break the tie between political blocs - despite polls indicating that the race this time is closer than ever.
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    Moshe says he will be around for the next election cycle
    Moshe says he will be around for the next election cycle
    Moshe says he will be around for the next election cycle
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    Moshe, from Har Adar near Jerusalem, was traveling to Athens. He made his plans despite being aware that he would miss his chance to vote, but did not care.
    "We are sick of this," he says. "This is the fifth time we are voting in three years. We want to travel and have a good time. See you in the sixth election cycle," he says.
    His partner insisted that they leave, and she is the one calling the shots in their household. "I saw the polls predicting a stalemate. The election laws must change," he says.
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    Likud supporter Lily traveling instead of voting
    Likud supporter Lily traveling instead of voting
    Likud supporter Lily traveling instead of voting
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    Likud supporter Lili agrees. "The elections will survive without me," she says. "I know the race is tight but what can I do? Tell Bibi that I am sorry," she says, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu by his nickname.
    Ariel, who has been living in Canada for the past decade, decided to return home after a month-long visit.
    "I care about the country, but we were on a schedule," he says. "I wish I could have stayed. We left for Canada because of the cost of living. We moved to a place where life is easier," he says.
    Hal'a wanted to travel at this time despite concerns that voter turnout in the Arab sector will be low.
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    Israeli Ha'la at Ben Gurion airport
    Israeli Ha'la at Ben Gurion airport
    Israeli Ha'la at Ben Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    "I have time off from school and I thought this would be the best time to travel," she says. "I see many who are not interested in voting even if they do not travel. They want the day off and don't care about the elections," she says.
    Hal'a says that had she stayed, her vote would have gone to the Balad party, which is not projected to win the minimum votes required to pass the Knesset threshold.
    Wared, on the other hand, came back to Israel from Bulgaria, especially for the elections. "I had some time after my degree and decided to return," he says.
    He will take a job as a poll worker in his home town of Arraba and supports the Joint List.
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    נוסעים בנתב"ג
    נוסעים בנתב"ג
    Israelis line up to check into flights ahead of elections
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    "It was important for me to vote and I call on everyone to come out to the polls," he says. "We must stop the rising fascism. This is a so-called democracy so why should we forgo our right?" he says.
    Gil, who is a tour guide in Athens, where he now lives - also came back for the elections.
    "It is important for every Israeli to vote, regardless of political affiliation," he says,. adding that if there is a sixth election, he will be here for that too.

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