Israeli voters apathetic about this week’s elections

Illustration of a ballot box at a polling station in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Danielle Shitrit/Flash90)

With no dearth of dire national issues facing Israel including threats from both the northern and southern borders and nuclear armament in Iran, it is perhaps incongruous that voters are treating the upcoming election this Tuesday with such extreme, and perhaps unprecedented, apathy.

Tuesday’s turnout is expected to be the lowest ever, according to some polls. Many pundits attribute that to election fatigue among the electorate. The previous elections were held just six months ago and, though he was given the nod to form a new government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a stable, majority government. 

The parliament voted to dissolve itself and go to new elections, which were scheduled for Sept. 17.

Now with the same political players – some of whom switched parties in the past few months – and more or less the same results predicted by the polls, most voters have no hope for a different outcome. Hence they may not go to the polls.

Even the politicians seem to be experiencing a form of fatigue. Until the past two weeks campaign signs and commercials were hard to come by. The six-month gap between elections is Israel’s shortest in its 71-year-history.

Neither Netanyahu, facing a series of corruption scandals, nor his chief rival Benny Gantz stand to be sure winners.

“Never before… has an Israeli election elicited such indifference and apathy from potential voters,” a Jerusalem Post editorial said last week. “Many voters are deciding that their opinions just do not really matter and are going to stay away from the polls.”

Nevertheless, Israeli believers should be taking a different stance and, rather than apathy, should be putting their faith into action and voting. In the last election, the only party representing Messianic Jews and Christians failed to get enough votes to cross the threshold into the Knesset. Regardless of how we vote, we should be taking an active part in the formation of the government – our future depends on it. 

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2