IDF soldiers head to the polls

Soldiers of the Golani Brigade vote on Mt. Hermon. Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

An estimated 80% of IDF (Zahal) soldiers voted in the elections for the 19th Knesset, most doing so at polling stations on IDF (Zahal) bases

Date: 23/01/2013, 11:26 AM     Author: Yair Barzilai

An estimated 80 percent of IDF (Zahal) soldiers voted in the elections for the 19th Knesset yesterday (Tuesday, January 22), most of them opting to vote at polling stations on IDF (Zahal) bases throughout the country. Special officers were trained for the task of overseeing the entire voting process taking place at a total of over 750 IDF (Zahal) polling stations. Some 4,000 soldiers were mobilized to operate the polling stations, with each individual station operated by a polling committee consisting of soldiers in their regular service.

Early voting began on Sunday (January 20) at the naval base in Ashdod, as well as at the Rabin (Kirya) base in Tel Aviv for soldiers who were expected to be unavailable to vote due to operational activity. For instance, early voting was organized specifically for 200 naval soldiers, who were expected to be at sea on the general election day.

The Education Corps called on IDF (Zahal) soldiers to exercise their democratic right by casting their ballots through a series of educational videos, workshops and a special website uploaded onto the IDF (Zahal) intranet that provided details and information about the elections and voting procedures.

In the Armored Corps, too, soldiers were educated as to their rights and were encouraged to be active and participate in the elections. Cpt. Shai Moshe, voting officer for the 401st Armored Brigade, noted that there was a feeling that soldiers were very interested in the elections. “They ask many questions such as: ‘If I find myself on Election Day on the road or in a course, how and where can I vote?’” he said.

According to Cpt. Moshe, one of the reasons for the soldiers’ interest in voting was a high level of education and training on the subject. “I’m glad we were able to increase awareness of the elections among every single one of the soldiers and commanders in our unit,” he stated.