Zionist Emissaries Employed Abroad Can Now Vote for Knesset

Bill enfranchises hundreds sent overseas by Jewish Agency and Jewish National Fund who are paid by local Jewish schools or communities.

Hundreds of overseas emissaries for the Jewish Agency and Jewish National Fund who were ineligible to vote in the last national election will be entitled to vote in future elections, the Knesset decided.

Ma'ariv reports that until now, only overseas emissaries directly employed by the World Zionist Organization, Keren Hayesod, Jewish Agency or Jewish National Fund could vote in Israeli embassies or consulates. The new law, authored by MKs Yariv Levin (Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu) and David Tsur (Hatnuah) and passed Monday by the Knesset, gives the vote to Jewish Agency and JNF emissaries paid by their workplaces overseas, such as Jewish schools and community organizations. At the time of the January 2013 election, they numbered some 400.

MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) objected to the bill, saying, "Israeli citizens are those who are inside the country and they are the only ones who should decide its future. It's very easy to give advice when you're living in the Diaspora, you don't have to pay the price for these decisions."

Tsur replied "This bill was born of the requests from people who do holy work overseas in their missions for the country – they're not going for vacation."