An Unsealed Room

Election Day Blogging

6:10 PM, Israeli time: Imshin debates: Bibi or Tzipi?

Bibi is an aggravating self promoter. You watch him speak you want to punch the screen. Livni comes over as impressive and determined.

Appearances aside, Livni seems to have taken the do-little-take-few-risks route all her career. Can we trust her at the helm? Do we need her taking her first steps learning to be a doer at our expense? Can we take the risk?

What about Bibi? Has he learnt? Has he changed? Has he grown as a leader? Will he be able to take the pressure this time around?

And, maybe the most important question of all, will either of them be able to make the right decision, at the right time, about Iran and the bomb?

How can we possibly know what’s right?

And why oh why do we have to choose between mediocre and mediocre? But seeing as we do – as I see it, there is one thing that Bibi has that Tzipi doesn’t. The one thing that can make the difference between an okay prime minister and a disastrous one. The one thing that made such a difference between the late Yitzhak Rabin’s first term as prime minister in the 1970’s and his second term in the 1990’s. E X P E R I E N C E.

I think I’m going to re-read this to console myself if Bibi takes it.

Her conclusion is interesting:

You know what the funny thing is? After everything that has happened, a lot of people are saying that if Olmert was running for office again they would be voting for him. I probably would myself. He started bad, but eventually got round to being, all things considered, a more than okay leader.

I don’t know anyone who has said that…although it does seem somewhat absurd that we’re losing our Prime Minister over corruption charges and the most popular figure of this election – Avigdor Lieberman – is under investigation for…corruption. I guess voters never learn.

5:40 PM, Israel time: Yes, indeed, voter turnout is higher than expected.

And yet, I think the diagnosis of malaise in my PJM article was on target. As my friend Shai Twittered:

Nobody seems to be particularly interested in these elections, though everyone seems to be depressed by them

Of course, the rain doesn’t help with the mood. If it was a sunny beautiful day and everyone had the day off of work and school, I’m sure it would feel much more festive all around.

The TV stations are doing their best to fill airtime with empty chatter about turnout, etc, until the exit polls can legally come in in a few hours. They just showed Tsippi Livni and the Kadima folks singing the national anthem. Livni shouldn’t sing. Ever.

The wisdom of the police in shutting down the potential riot in Umm-al-Fahm robbed the media of that circus, thank goodness. We didn’t need that sideshow broadcast around the world.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda … Parties are already talking about mistakes made in this campaign, even before the results are in.

2 PM, Israel Time: So the big day is here. And it’s a stormy, rainy crappy day. Thunder, lightening, even hail. One can’t help wondering if this is a higher power’s commentary on the political state of the nation.
Despite the weather, turnout is higher than expected – that is rather inspiring. Although with Election Day a vacation day and all, Israelis truly have no excuse not to exercise their right to vote.

My personal voting was quiet and uneventful. My husband took my son to vote, we had a family breakfast together at a restaurant to mark the occasion, and then I took my daughter to the local junior high school. I let her choose the ballot, put it in the envelope, and put the envelope in the ballot box. I must say, I find the old-fashioned system of voting in Israel nice and reassuring. No bells and whistles, no fancy electronic systems to get messed up. Just nice straightforward slips of paper.

As I was coming out of the classroom where I voted, I ran into two friends, Sam and Jess who were in line waiting their turn to go in. They moved to Israel less than two years ago and so this was their first voting experience in Israel. I jokingly asked them if they had decided who they were voting for. Jess laughed and said “Of course.” Sam, poised to walk to the ballot box, looked me in the eye and said, “You know what, I really haven’t.” I didn’t want to get into a political discussion right there – I didn’t want to be accused of electioneering next to a polling place. But I’m curious who he voted for.

I think I know who SHE voted for…