Aly Silverberg is the incoming NFTY North American Communications Vice President.
This past week I took an amazing family trip to Israel. We started in the north and travelled around the country for about 9 days. Our trip happened to fall on Israel’s federal elections. It was an interesting time to be in Israel, and these are a few things my family and I experienced while we were there.
- Driving around the North, my family would get stopped outside of Kibbutzim by supporters of parties other than Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Even little kids would stop cars to hand us flyers, post cards, and wheat. We weren’t sure what the wheat represented or why they were handing it out, but our tour guide explained it was a sign of peace.
- Almost all of the advertisements, billboards, and posters were of Netanyahu. His campaign material was all over the country, plastered over every surface out on the street. It was very obvious that Netanyahu and the Likud party spent a lot of money compared to other parties which had barely any campaign material.
- On election day, my family drove out into the streets of Jerusalem and realized nothing was open. There were no cars on the street, and barely anyone outside. Businesses were closed almost as if it were Shabbat or a federal holiday. This was to allow people to get out and vote. 74% of eligible voters took part in the election!
- Everyone we spoke to was ready for change. Everyone who’s views were centre-left, were even more disappo inted when Netanyahu suddenly changed his views before the election and moved further right.
- The night of the election, the country awaited results with baited breath. People gathered in the municipal square in Tel Aviv watching, and waiting together. That night there was a lot of disappointment. From my view, it seemed like no one was happy with the results. They were ready for change but it seemed that the majority wasn’
Going on this trip with my family was an extraordinary opportunity, but what made it even more extraordinary was being in Israel during this time of political contention. I began to realize the difference between the way we view Netanyahu internationally, and how Israelis view him. It’s important when reviewing the election results of another country we take into account it’s own people.