By Anav Silverman
Over 30,000 U.S. citizens living in Israel cast their vote in this week’s U.S. elections. iVoteIsrael, the leading organization facilitating the ability of Americans in Israel to vote in US elections, has successfully completed its 2014 campaign making voting from Israel more accessible to as many Americans in Israel as possible.
“iVoteIsrael is pleased to announce that 30,000 Americans from 36 different states have cast their ballots in the 2014 elections from Israel,” commented Matt Solomon, national director of iVoteIsrael. “This represents an unprecedented increase in voter participation from Israel in a non-Presidential election.”
According to iVoteIsrael, the ‘war of words’ between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations that went public during the final weeks of the campaign, including accusations by PM Netanyahu that Israel was being treated in an ‘un-American’ manner, and the labeling of Bibi as ‘ChickenSh*t’ by a senior Obama administration official became a major driver in turning out US ex-Pats to vote.
“The public meltdown of relations by the heads of State was very distressing for American ex-Pats to witness. Voting came to be seen as a unique outlet for American voters in Israel to proclaim their commitment to a strong US-Israel relationship, even if that is not as evident from the tone of the leadership,” explained Solomon.
Internationally, American ex-Pats typically have less than a 1% voter turnout rate in non-Presidential elections and only 5% in Presidential elections. The 18% of eligible Americans in Israel who voted in the 2014 elections likely continued the trend of American ex-Pats from Israel leading the world in voting in American elections (data for international voter participation in the 2014 mid-terms is not yet available), further solidifying the unique nature of the relationship between the US and Israel, which is not limited to the diplomatic and strategic levels but also, at the grassroots, electoral, and deeply personal level.
In 2012, the 80,000 Americans who voted from Israel represented more than 25% of all overseas voters, representing over 50% turnout rate for eligible US voters in Israel.
“This connection between countries demonstrates the breadth of the unique relationship between the two countries. iVoteIsrael is proud to have played a role in illustrating this connection to the public,” concluded Solomon.
Republicans made significant gains in the midterm U.S. election results this past week, easily gaining control of the U.S. Senate and increasing their control of the House of Representatives. It was the first time since 2006 that Republicans have controlled both chambers of Congress.
Tazpit News Agency