Israeli Candidates Vie for the (Gasp!) American Vote

Explicit Appeals to Ex-Pats of All Stripes as Election Nears

Vote For Me: Labor’s Shelley Yachimovich campaigns in Israel’s election. Candidates from both sides of the political spectrum are making explicit appeals for the votes of American expatriates.
getty images
Vote For Me: Labor’s Shelley Yachimovich campaigns in Israel’s election. Candidates from both sides of the political spectrum are making explicit appeals for the votes of American expatriates.

By JTA

Published January 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Gimpel, Tal and Lipman hope to replicate American economic success in the political arena. Israel has not had an American-born member of Knesset since 1984, when the ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane was elected. His party, Kach, was later deemed racist and disqualified from running in the 1988 elections.

The polls show Gimpel 14th on the Jewish Home list and Tal 13th on Hatnua – on the verge of winning Knesset seats. Lipman, 17th on the Yesh Atid slate, is a more unlikely victor.

“My mother tongue is English, so I wanted to empower the English-speaking immigrant community,” said Gimpel, 33, who moved to Israel when he was 11. “They have someone they can turn to.”

While the three candidates come from different parts of the political spectrum, they agree that most English speakers care about strengthening the state’s democratic values and reforming its fragmented political system, in which as many as 15 parties may enter the next Knesset.

Tal and Lipman both noted that Americans, who come from a tradition of religious pluralism, also emphasize issues of religion and state and tend to oppose government support for haredi Orthodox institutions.

“In America, haredim have education, there are opportunities and they work,” said Lipman, who himself is haredi Orthodox. ”That issue bothers us more because we know there’s no contradiction” between working and being haredi.

All three candidates agreed that a common stereotype Israelis have of American voters – that they care only about supporting settlements – is false.

“Part of the Anglo immigrants are right-wing religious, but a large percentage are not,” Tal said.

Lipman added that English speakers are “very much in line with mainstream Israel” and, like a majority of Israelis, are prioritizing economic issues in this election.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.