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Israel

It’s a holiday!

Yes, today is a public holiday. No, it’s not Purim yet – our day for dressing up. And Tu B’shvat, the new year for trees, had not been brought forward. (Besides, neither of those are public holidays.)

Today is election day. After all these years of living here, the reason why  it is a public holiday still eludes me. Still, it’s warm and sunny today, so why not let people relax and enjoy themselves.

In Britain, today would be called a bank holiday; no doubt that has historical significance. In Israel, it’s called a shabbaton, which comes from the word for sabbath: day of rest. It certainly seems like a day of rest today.

As we walked round to our local voting station, we couldn’t fail to notice the lack of traffic on the roads and the unusual calmness of the people we saw. In the station itself, usually a school, the same calm atmosphere was apparent, as you can see.

Voting

There was no queue, no problem. We voted and left.

Afterwards, in hot sunshine, I sat on a bench in the little park opposite the voting station. Some election leaflets littered the grass. Occasionally one or two of them got up and moved to a position nearby, helped by a breeze. I watched two men quietly putting up yet another election poster, fixing one side to a sign indicating disabled parking and the other to a branch. People ambled by on their way to vote, one talking to a mobile phone. Children rode bikes. A woman held a dog on a leash while her partner went to vote.

Ordinary people exercising their right to vote. When I lived in Britain, I took that right for granted. Here in Israel, it means more, knowing that not one of our neighbours really has that right.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

5 replies on “It’s a holiday!”

That sounds like the way to vote. No concerns of whether the boss is going to fire you for going to exercise your right to vote and it takes 5 minutes too long. No hoping to catch the voting station at the right time. It’s a public holiday to perform your civic duty. Sounds good to me. Glad you got your chance to do so in a more relaxed manner 🙂

You’ve painted an idyllic picture of a polling day. Here in the UK we don’t have a holiday on polling day and so for much of the day the polling stations are empty with a rush at teatime when people come home from work. Your way sounds better… your weather sounds better too. It’s still thick with snow here!

Oh that’s nice. IN the states, they don’t have a holiday on election day. The repubs are trying to make it so that polls close at like 5:00 thereby eliminating the need to deal with workers who can’t take vacation in order to vote (those would be the dems). They’re also redistricting the heck out of places and looking for ways to make the electoral college get apportioned by congressional district (following the redistricting). Anything they can do to stay in power. That way they can be assholes. It’s nice to see it isn’t that way in other countries.

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