For many of us, making aliyah is more than a move across the ocean; rather, it’s an expression of our Jewish and/or Zionist ideology and often has more to do with our hearts and souls than practicalities often associated with moving from one place to another. Leaving the United States for Israel seems crazy to some, but no matter how fond we are of the American Dream that we left behind, we made this move because our Jewish and/or Zionist identities are more significant to us than the fact that we were born in America. Immediately upon arrival, or even before, our political priorities change. We’re far more concerned with Israel’s future than the political realities that affect day-to-day life in the US and for some, this weighs heavily on their decision to vote or not to vote in the upcoming US presidential elections.
Some olim feel that they are no longer invested in what happens at the White House and some even feel that they no longer have a right to vote in their country of birth. Here at iVoteIsrael, we understand these sentiments– but we disagree profoundly.
First of all, as an American citizen, you have a legal right to vote in the United States. As an American citizen, you’re still obligated to report your income to the IRS in America, so why shouldn’t you be granted a right to vote (though voting via absentee ballot does not interfere with your tax status or cause the IRS to contact you)?
Secondly, and more importantly, you’d have to live under a rock to be unaware of the fact that Israeli citizens are affected profoundly by US government policy in the Middle East. The United States is regarded as our closest, most significant ally and Israel’s safety and security is impacted directly by the US government. So what does that mean, exactly?
It means that as an Israeli citizen, you are just as likely– if not more likely — to be affected by the outcome of the 2012 US presidential elections as your average American citizen who lives in the US. If you’re concerned about Israel’s safety and security, do yourself and your nation a favor– vote. You have the right and a responsibility to do so.