A trickle of Israelis living abroad has begun arriving in Israel in the days prior to Tuesday’s election, in order to cast ballots for the next Knesset. Unlike the United States, which allows its expatriate community abroad to vote in local, state and national elections, Israelis residing outside of the Jewish state are legally barred from exercising their sovereign franchise. Martin Berger of Brighton, England, is one of them. A sales manager for a media company, he first came to Israel in 1988 as part of a crew filming a movie about the 40th anniversary of Israel’s founding. While he never resided here full time, he obtained citizenship and visits Israel on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once every two weeks.
“I have been a citizen for a quarter of a century but unfortunately haven’t yet lived here, but I have voted in every election,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
Berger, who is voting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that while he personally does not know other Israelis abroad who are coming to vote, he “has heard of a dozen others who are.”
Avi Rubel, the co-founder of Honeymoon Israel, which organizes trips here for newly married couples, said that he flew in from the US because this race “feels like the most important election I can think of in my lifetime, and I wanted to be a part of it.”