Here is part of the front page of today’s Israel HaYom newspaper:
The headline translates as: “Exactly one more week” which refers, of course, to next Tuesday’s election.
The picture of the different pieces of paper shows how people vote here; there is no ballot in the sense of a sheet of paper with candidates to choose from. Instead, from behind a curtain, you have a selection like those bits of paper. Each letter or letter combination represents a party. For example, Likud Beitenu’s voting paper (as you can see from their advert) has the Hebrew letters: מחל
Challenger Naftali Bennett’s party HaBayit Hayehudi‘s (or, in French, HaBait Hayehoudi) voting paper (as you can just about see in the background poster below) has these letters: טב
And Yair Lapid and the Yesh Atid party’s voting paper (as shown below) has these letters: פה
(I do not know and do not care enough to find out the letter codes for the rest of the political parties. Yes, I am voting for one of these three.)
You are supposed to take the piece of paper for your chosen party, fold it, and put that in the ballot box. Experienced campaigners tell me it is not unusual to find that the slips for one or more parties have been wrongly removed by mischief making voters. And, if you have seen the film Sala Shabati, you will have seen the voting system in action with a different twist on the meaning of floating voter. (If you have not seen the film, it is worth watching. It’s a classic Israeli comedy. It’s even quite funny…)
So, all I need to do between now and next Tuesday, is try and find the polling station, decide who I want to vote for in my first Israeli election, and try and remember the right Hebrew letters to match my voting intention. I do hope I get it right. What fun!