Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Israeli Election Blog Series: ‘A Typical Volunteer Day’

I can divide my experience, so far, in this election cycle into two parts: the Primaries and the General Election.  Since Israel’s elections are based on a proportional system (each party’s percentage of the vote dictates how many seats it will receive and each party’s Primary decides the order its candidates will be chosen to be MKs) the Primaries are extremely important.

In the weeks leading up to the Primary for Avodah I chose to get involved by supporting an old friend and former Shlicha (Israeli “emissary”) of mine, Yona Prital, in her bid to secure a slot.  I took to the street corner outside of the polling station in Haifa on the day of the Primary and handed out flyers, encouraging people to choose her amongst their 12 possible choices.  She finished 24th on a list of over 80 candidates, which is a very respectable position and one from which she has a chance to become a member of Knesset (Israeli Parliament).

Since the Primaries my day-to-day has included working within my community, Kvutsot AM, to decide how we will play a role in shaping this election cycle.  As of Sunday night we have an “action” committee that will quarterback our efforts.

We have chosen to act in this election in the following three ways:

  1. Increasing awareness through the creation and implementation of educational programing in Israel about the issues relevant in this election.  These issues include but are not limited to; who the parties are and how they relate to the vision of Israel that we are working to bring to fruition;
  2. Joining the effort to bring the Jewish People into this political conversation on the future of Israel;
  3. Working specifically with Olim to make sure that they are informed and knowledgeable about the issues and the parties and that they will, in fact, vote and;
  4. Engaging in  the regular campaign work that seems to be universal in all elections.

Needless to say, the next couple of weeks will be extremely packed with barely a moment to spare on all of the other things that we need to do.  In the end, though, change is made by those who show up, so it’s time to get to work!


Blogger Bio: Shawn Guttman made Aliyah from Toronto in 2010 and lives in Haifa in Kvutsat Yoreh, an “urban kibbutz” of Kvutsot AM.  He is a graduate of the Zionist youth movement Habonim Dror and works as a Program Coordinator and Educator for Hechalutz, the Center for Alternative Zionist Education.