Israeli Elections Officially Kicked Off at Ballots Around the World, Again
Official Israeli representatives around the world kicked off the elections for the 23rd Knesset ahead of the March 2 general elections.
The first to cast his vote was Dr. Itzhak Gerberg, Israel Ambassador to New Zealand. “Exciting to cast the first vote in the world for Israel’s 23rd Knesset elections,” he wrote on Twitter.
The embassies in China and the Philippines followed next.
While most Israelis will have to wait for March to vote in the elections, Israeli representatives in 96 embassies and consulates in 77 countries across the globe cast their ballots on Wednesday.
According to the Knesset Election Law, private citizens living abroad cannot vote unless they come to Israel, but diplomats and emissaries sent abroad by the Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund (KKL), Keren Hayesod and the World Zionist Organization can vote in time for it to be sent via diplomatic mail to Jerusalem to be counted on Election Day.
Some 5,000 Israelis living abroad are eligible to vote.
The first polling station to open abroad was the Israeli Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. The last polling stations to close are the Israeli consulates in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The largest polling station is the consulate in New York with 700 eligible voters, while the smallest is the Israeli Embassy in Tirana, Albania, with only four eligible voters.
At the end of the process, all envelopes are sent to the Knesset in Jerusalem, where they are guarded in a safe until Election Day. After the polls close in Israel and the counting starts, the diplomats’ ballots will be counted as well.
This is the third time in the past year that Israel is voting. The latest polls project another political stalemate and a possible fourth round of elections.