Is it smart to vote with your heart?

The other day, I asked Israeli politicians via my blog on The Times of Israel, if any of them wanted my vote.

Apparently, Dov Lipman does. In fact, he’s really the only one who answered the call. It could have something to do with the fact that my “call” was in English, Dov’s mother tongue (he’s also an immigrant from the U.S.). It also could do with the fact that he too is a Times of Israel blogger, and perhaps the only political candidate who actually read my post.

Understanding this, I sent the link personally to English-proficient Bibi and American-born, greenie like me Alon Tal via social media outlets to try to get their attention. Neither responded. Not even their twitter-bots.

I did get a Facebook shout out from the English campaign manager of HaBayit HaYehudi asking me to call him, and an offer from one of their volunteers to come to my kibbutz and speak about the elections.

But Dov was the only one who hunted me down on Facebook  (not hard to do) and engaged me in a one-on-one Q & A  about his agenda — and mine — and that of Yesh Atid, the party ticket he’s running on.

This is one of those moments where we say:

Only in Israel.

(Or in Newark, where one particular politician  makes voters feel like they matter.)

I liked what Dov had to say (type) to me — but, moreso, how he said it.

He was nice.

Excited.

Passionate.

Hopeful.

Optimistic.

Engaging.

He listened.

He asked me for my questions.

And answered them. To the best of his ability.

And was honest when he didn’t have the answer.

He asked me what mattered to me.

He made me feel as if I matter.

Smart guy.

A politician in the making, but not politician enough to sound inauthentic.

Which is a good thing in my book.

And while important issues to me are sorely missing from Yesh Atid’s platform –environment and health, in particular– I don’t think any one party in Israel is addressing the issues that matter to me. (Which is stupid, since religion and government will mean nothing to nobody if this land is either flooded over or otherwise uninhabitable due to the effects of climate change; or if we’re all dying of various of forms of cancer thanks to air, water, and land pollution.)

So I have a few choices in this election:

1. Choose not to vote

2. Choose the party and politician most of my close friends are choosing (In my case, HaTnuah, Labor or Meretz– which is probably why HaBayit HaYehudi didn’t waste even a 5-minute call on me)

3. Choose the guy/party who makes me feel like I matter

Choosing 1 is completely reasonable for a new immigrant. I mean, to be honest, I’m surprised they let me vote at all. I can barely make it through the grocery store on my own.

Choosing 2 would put me among the majority of the people in this country. Most people, especially immigrants, vote half-heartedly or with little research. Most of my friends told me they are still undecided or are choosing a party based on who they don’t want to win or based on who their father/husband/sister wants to win.

Is it so wrong, stupid, or immature then to choose option 3? To choose to vote for the one person on the ballot who made me feel like my vote matters?

Obviously, there is something in Yesh Atid’s platform that speaks to me  – education improvements, for one. Focus on helping small businesses succeed and giving opportunities to the middle class to afford homes.

And then there’s the fact that Yair Lapid, the party leader, actually thinks Israels should be nicer to each other.

Me, too.

Niceness goes a long way.

Obviously, Dov Lipman could be telling me exactly what I want to hear to get my vote. That’s what a few of my friends said when I told them I was considering giving Yesh Atid my vote after my correspondence with Dov, followed by a careful reading of their English web site and Facebook pages, and speaking to one of their hard-core supporters..

But isn’t that’s what all politicians do any way — on a grander scale? Tell us what we want to hear to motivate us to vote for them?

Really, when it comes down to it — after all the newspaper articles, the televised debates, the advertising: none of which I was audience to, in all honesty, because they were either in Hebrew or took place far away — how educated can we really truly be before an election?

How rational can we really truly be? Most of our decisions, any decisions, are biased anyway.

So is it so stupid, so wrong, such a waste for me to vote for the guy, the party who made me feel like I matter?

5 thoughts on “Is it smart to vote with your heart?

  1. I was impressed by him too . Took the time to answer my questions . Having said that , so did meretz . I agree with you yesh atid don’t deal with all that is important to me.still can’t finally decide who to give my precious vote to

  2. HaBayit HaYehudi visited Tsfat. I was on a tiyul so couldn’t be bothered to attend the meeting. The truth is I agree with one or two points on their agenda; but the rest are so fantastical or extreme it’s pointless voting anyone like that into power…

    Nu, they speak English and seem keen to hear what we have to say so why not vote for them? Cos it doesn’t matter. The nature of Israeli politics is “COALITION COALITION COALITION ” Not Representation.

  3. Sorry – but Yesh Atid’s small business platform is completely misguided. No government body will ever be efficient enough to truly help small business owners, like myself. I’ve dealt with these types of bodies before and they are completely corrupt. The mentorship program is interesting – but again, I have little faith in it.

    THE REAL way to help small businesses is to A) lower corporate tax and B) lower capital gains tax. Specifically A will help companies recycle more of their earnings into hiring more capacity … to take on more business!! I can tell you right now that the difference between me hiring my 11th, 12th, and 13th employee is literally the difference between a few % difference on the pretty steep 25% corporate tax and additional 25% capital gains tax.

    You want to encourage small businesses to hire? Create a grant based program on companies that demonstrate healthy business practices (quantitative not qualitative by some stupid govt body) after 1 year. If you can make it boostrapped after 1 year, then give a 1 time grant to expand and hire instead of paying those same people unemployment. That’s just one idea.

    We don’t necessarily need mentorship or help getting loans… mid-sized companies hire sustainably. A tiny little shop that gets a 50K NIS loan don’t hire.

    Anyways – just my thoughts. FYI – Alon Tal came to speak at my apartment in TLV in front of 40 anglo olim and I’m sure if he knew you were reaching out personally, he would have been happy to respond…

    Great piece btw.

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