Most of the time, the word “kolot” can be pretty much relied on to mean “voices.” But come election season, this shape-shifter is often used to mean “votes.” As you can imagine, this has prompted a few campaign slogans over the years to play on the double meaning of the word.
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“Don’t hesitate, don’t equivocate! Give your kol [the singular of ‘kolot’] to Koah Hashaket!” went a slogan for a long-forgotten party that translates as “Quiet Force.” Unfortunately for that movement, it was so quiet it didn’t win a single seat in the 1988 election for the 12th Knesset.
Other slogans upped the ante by playing not just on the word for voices and votes, but also on a homophone, transliterated as “kol” but spelled differently in Hebrew, that can mean “all,” “each” or “everything.”
In a reference to underground militant opposition to the British rulers of pre-state Palestine, Reshimat Halohamim – the Fighters List, a movement comprised of members of the Lehi pre-state militia – used the following slogan for the 1949 election for the Constituent Assembly, the predecessor of the Knesset: “On Election Day, give your voice/vote [kol] for those who, during eight years of the underground, gave their all [kol].”
But it’s Ahdut Ha’avoda-Poalei Zion, most of whose leaders were members of the United Kibbutz Movement, that takes the cake with its triple-kol campaign slogan for the fifth Knesset in 1961: “Everything [hakol] depends on each vote [one ‘kol’ for ‘each’ and one for ‘vote’].” To get the full flavor of it, I think we need the original Hebrew: “Bekhol kol taluy hakol.” It’s like “every vote counts,” but in a rhythmic tongue-twister that you can recite to yourself all the way to the polls.