Absentee Voting Bill Likely to Have Automatic Knesset Majority

If the bill is passed, registered Israelis with the necessary form will be able to vote at Israeli legations abroad.

A supporter holds an election billboard showing Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu with Hebrew writing that reads "Likud", in Jerusalem, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009.

Knesset members from across the aisle are collaborating on legislation that would allow absentee voting in general elections.

In terms of their bill, any citizen who is overseas on Election Day but is registered to vote and has collected the requisite form from the Interior Ministry at least a year before the election, will be allowed to vote at any Israeli embassy or consulate abroad.

The coalition agreement of the current government includes support for such a bill. As a result, it is likely to have an automatic Knesset majority. The bill is also supported by at least some opposition lawmakers.

The bill’s seven sponsors include four lawmakers from the coalition – Sharren Haskel (Likud), David Bitan (Likud), Eli Cohen (Kulanu) and Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas) – and three from the opposition – Itzik Shmuli, Eitan Cabel and Stav Shaffir, all of Zionist Union.

“In the era of globalization, many citizens are abroad on business on election day, and we should enable them to participate in the election via Israeli legations overseas, in line with the practice that exists in most of the world’s democratic countries,” according to the bill’s explanatory notes.

They cite Britain, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as countries with similar legislation.