Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jerusalem Elections

Well we didn't vote. Our first election and we didn't vote; I'm ashamed of myself - Naomi's not nearly as concerned. We were supposed to get something in the mail and we didn't, but even as the date came close I still didn't make the call to the hotline that I should have.

I can make excuses like: I left for the Golan that morning or that we haven't lived here long enough to actually know anything, etc. But neither is really true. I did go to the Golan that day, but the polls opened an hour and a half before we left. We've been in Israel for a year and a half now and that's long enough to know some of the issues.

Besides, I'm a strong believer that if you don't vote you forfeit your ability to complain. I like the Australian system of fining and then imprisoning people that don't vote. It's a different society there - in Israel and the US, voting is seen as a privilege - we get to vote, how lucky. In Australia, voting is a civic duty. That makes sense to me.

I guess you could say that the guy we both would have voted for won - Nir Barkat - but we voted absentee in Maryland for Obama even though we knew he'd win and that our absentee ballots would never be counted. It's a civic duty.

Jerusalem is a city that needs help. Rated the worst place to live in Israel (among the largest 15 cities); a public entertainment budget of 10 million shekels (compared to Tel Aviv's 80 million) and that's after last years 5 million raise!; for a country/city that proclaims it's love it's rather dirty. And I haven't even started talking about education or jobs here.

The current mayor, Uri Lipoliansky, has done a pretty good job; and he probably would have been re-elected had he run, but the new Haredi candidated is a hack and I can't stand him. He's so atrocious that he made a cariacture of himself to be noticed!

So, I'm happy that Nir Barkat won - I hope he can pull Jerusalem out of the gutter by it's bootstraps and make it the place it should be.

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