Untangling Israeli Democracy and Elections
In November 2022, Israelis headed to the polls—the fifth time in three-and-a-half years! While the election finally came to a conclusive end, in contrast with the prior four outcomes, you may still have questions about how the country elects its leaders, key players in politics, the different parties, and more.
We've created a video to help you decipher the Israeli electoral system, and curated resources and activities for learners of all ages to make help make sense of Israeli democracy. As always, we challenge you to consider: what does all of this mean for you?
There are many ways to do democracy, and Israel’s electoral system impacts every aspect of life in the country. This short video, created before the November 2022 Israeli election, offers insights to help you begin to understand the system, and raises a few questions to consider as you think about Israel’s electoral process and results. We’re sure you’ll have many more questions!
AS YOU WATCH THE VIDEO, CONSIDER:
- What unites Israelis? What divides them?
- What factors do you think most influence the choices of Israeli voters?
- What can we learn about Israeli society from regional and sectoral voting patterns?
- And on a more personal note: Why does any of this matter to you, and how does it influence your connection to Israel?
WAYS TO USE
After introducing the topic of Israeli elections and using the video (and any other materials you choose) to help people focus on the system, the process, and their implications, select one or more of these questions to spark conversation or critical thinking, and a deeper dive into the issues and implications of elections.
Explore What Unites Israelis and What Divides Them
Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle to make two columns. Label the one on the left “Unites,” and the one on the right “Divides.” Take three minutes to list values and ideas that you think unite, or divide, Israelis. Come together and discuss. Make this discussion more personal by following it with another question: What’s your take on each of the issues listed and discussed by the group?
Think and Listen to Factors Influencing Israeli Voters’ Choices
Start with exploring some factors that actually shape voting patterns in the US. Then, consider which of these might also be at play within Israeli society. What’s similar? What’s different? How might differences in the political systems in the US and Israel affect the choices voters have to make? Challenge everyone to consider which issues have the greatest influence on how they (or their parents) cast their ballots. (Consider sharing highlights from this article, describing recent poll findings that economic issues are top of mind for Israeli voters this November.)
Learn About the Diversity of Israeli Society From Regional and Sectoral Voting Patterns
The video explains that unlike the US, which is massive and divided into hundreds of districts for Congressional voting, Israel is a small country and everyone votes in a single district. What are some pros and cons of each system? In what ways does the Israeli system benefit or disadvantage different segments of Israeli society congregated in different areas of the country?
Why might like-minded votes gravitate toward living close to each other? What can you infer about the various cultures of different regions of Israel based on their voting patterns?
Reflect on How This May Matter to You and Influence Your Connection to Israel
Kick off this discussion by asking everyone to share one word or phrase that strikes them after watching the video. Look for responses that hint at a sense of engagement with the process or outcome of Israeli elections and ask people to expand on their thoughts.
Be sure to leave space for people who do not feel a connection to the subject to express their perspectives. It can be hard to engage with something that takes place so far away, especially for people without personal connections via friends or family.
DIGGING DEEPER: RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS
There are many resources available for those who want to follow the intricacies of Israel’s electoral system and how they impact each new election. Here are a few places to start your exploration. Share with us other resources you find useful!