Voting Rights Question of Identity: By Moshe Feiglin
Israeli students abroad are requesting the right to vote in Israel’s upcoming election. They are absolutely right. There is no reason why a US or Australian citizen can participate in elections in his/her country from any embassy in the world, while in Israel, the voter must be physically in the country.
Moreover, I believe that any Jew identified as such by the Law of Return, who ties his fate to the State of Israel and publicly acknowledges that fact, should also have the right to vote in Israeli elections – even if he has not yet made aliyah to Israel.
This has nothing to do with the demographic problem (if such a problem exists) and I have no idea if the Jews from abroad would vote left or right.
There is a much more essential issue at hand. The stipulation that Israeli citizenship and voting rights require that a person lives here – in the Homeland – stems from the desire to prove that we are an indigenous nation, as per Israel’s Declaration of Independence: “In the Land of Israel the Jewish Nation arose.”
But that is a total distortion. We were created abroad, we created most of our cultural treasures abroad and our rights to our Land are basically because of the future – much less because of the past. But we wanted to be normal, a nation like all the other nations, and to create an indigenous, Israeli nation to replace the destiny-driven Jewish nation.
The students abroad pay the price for this. We are very strict about it: Only the ‘indigenous’ in the Land of Israel may vote.
Give the Jews abroad the right to vote? What are you talking about?
True, this is a Jewish state. But actually it is the Israeli State. A new, different nation has been born.
Many people ask: But the potential voters do not do army service. Why should they vote if they do not bear the responsibility for their choice?
And the Arabs? And the Ultra Orthodox? And all the draft evaders? Why do they get to vote?
I always call upon all the Jews to ascend to the Land of Israel under all conditions. But the question of the potential voters’ ‘contribution’ to the State is irrelevant. I know Jews abroad who contributed more to the State of Israel than many of its citizens. The real question is “Are we a Jewish State – and as that implies, a state that belongs to all the Jews?
If the answer is yes, let the students vote.