Barak: Only Those Who Risk Living in Israel Should Vote Here

Defense Min. criticizes bid backed by Netanyahu, Lieberman to allow absentee voting for Israelis.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said he strongly objects to a proposal backed by the prime minister and foreign minister to allow Israeli citizens abroad to vote in Knesset elections.

"I strongly object to granting the right to vote to Israelis living permanently abroad," said Barak at a Defense Ministry meeting. "Only those people who are here with us and who bear the risks and burden of being here should be allowed to vote in Israel."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman announced Monday that they intend to promote a bill that would let Israeli citizens vote from abroad in Knesset elections.

Coalition parties Shas and Labor oppose the bill, as do many opposition factions.

Kadima filed a no-confidence motion against the government over its intention "to enable people not living in Israel to vote in the elections and determine the fate of those living here."

All decisions for Israel's future must be determined only by those who chose to live here and shape its future," party sources said.

At the start of a Likud faction meeting Monday, Netanyahu promised to enact this legislation, which he believes will bolster citizens' ties to the country. "This is acceptable in many countries," he noted.