I had some errands to do in Petach Tikvah today, so I decided to vote in the Likud primaries there instead of where I live in the Shomron. The experience was typically Israeli.
After crossing the gauntlet of overeager campaigners urging flyers on me with the number of their candidates, I stood on line to get into the building. The security men were only letting in five people at a time, after the same number of voters left. Most of the people on line were middle aged men (I got there around lunchtime, so I assume people were taking a bit of time from their lunch hour to vote). There were exceptions though – a woman right in front of me was heavily made up and wore a red fright wig, and had a piercing in her nose. I could not figure out her age under the whole get-up, but I do assume she was a bit younger than I am.
After a few minutes of waiting the crowd behind me started to get antsy and vocal about it. “Nu, what is taking so much time already” one man yelled out. This is the “sabra” part of Israeli society – the prickly part. Patience in line is practically non-existent.
Then another voice called out. “I have an elderly man here who wants to vote, can you move aside?” Now came the sweet part of Israeli society. Everyone moved to the side, without one complaint, even though just a second before they were complaining about the wait. A young man accompanied an elderly gentleman with a cane to the front of the line. Even the security guards, after doing the necessary check of his teudat zehut (Israeli identity card) let him in without waiting.
After being let in to the building I had to show my teudat zehut again to a smiling man who checked on his computer that I was indeed a Likud member. After his approval I was invited to go upstairs. At the elevator bank, a smiling young woman asked me if I wanted her to show me how to use the computerized ballot. (I was not insulted as she asked everyone the same thing). After politely refusing I took the elevator. Upstairs the scene repeated itself – a guard at the door letting people in a few at a time so the place was not too crowded, and people behind tables with computers checking that you were indeed eligible to vote. These people took my teudat zehut while I voted. I was then directed to a voting booth, which was another table with a screen so that the voting was private. The computerized voting system was very simple – but all in Hebrew. After I voted and pressed the last part of the screen to certify that I was done. I then returned to the table to receive my identity card again, and the woman put into her system that I had voted (presumably to make sure I didn’t travel from one polling place to another to vote more than once). I heard while coming out that the computers were down in other polling places, but in Petach Tikvah it was working very well. All in all it took twenty minutes.
Tomorrow the results should be advertised.