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Jonathan Feldstein
Husband, father, grandfather, bridge-builder, Zionist
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The unscientific poll of my crazy, concerned, diverse friends

'I'm probably not going to decide until I’m in the voting booth and then will promptly forget who I voted for.' Looks like the I-Dunnos are in the lead
Who ya gonna vote for? (Jonathan Feldstein)
Who ya gonna vote for? (Jonathan Feldstein)

With nothing better to do than engage people whose opinions I had not yet asked about tomorrow’s election, yesterday I sent a simple message to a few dozen friends stating, “Partly because I remain undecided and partly because I’m curious and asking people who I respect, who are you voting for and why. “

While official polls ended on Friday, mine is unofficial and unscientific. The margin of error could be 50 percent or more. I surveyed a random group of people who I thought of, who I respect, and whose position I truly did not know.

I am reporting on most of them, even the most mundane comments, with the exception of those from friends who were too lazy to write a text and rather sent an audio message in response. And since I am too lazy to transcribe their messages, their input is not registered here, with one notable exception.

I did however ask a group of people who are to the right and the left, Jews and Arabs, olim (immigrants to Israel) and native Israelis.

Here is what my crazy friends have to say. By full disclosure, two of them are biologically related to me, second and third cousins, who are not related to one another and also represent opposite sides of the spectrum. For the record, punctuation, capitalization and spelling are my friends’ mistakes. All comments are anonymous because I didn’t ask anyone if I could use their words with attribution.

First, the number of people who remain undecided in my poll is unusually high. It is a word and theme repeated over and over and will have a significant impact on tomorrow’s actual vote that I believe is not sufficiently represented in the polls.

  • I haven’t decided yet.
  • Still figuring it out.
  • I’m undecided as well.
  • Still undecided.
  • Going step by step.
  • I’m undecided also, but I’m really scared about Ben Gvir.

The chorus is definitely “undecided” but there’s very little harmony beyond that. If you try however, these could be sung to the tune of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,”

(Easy come, easy go, I do not know for whom to vote. No, we will not let you vote, let him vote, will not let you vote, let him vote, we will not let you vote, let me vote, Will not let you vote, let me vote.
Never, never, never, never let me vote
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, undecided, undecided, undecided, let me vote…)

Adding an element of exasperation to his being undecided, one wrote, “I am probably not going to decide until I’m in the voting booth and then will promptly forget who I voted for.’

When pushed with a gentle question even among undecided “where are you leaning?” layers of the onion were revealed showing a wide range of ideas.

There were some common themes. First, if the number of people considering voting for Ayelet Shaked and Bayit Yehudi won’t vote for her because it might be a wasted vote actually did vote for her/them, it might be enough for her party to pass the threshold rather than becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. But some just support her outright:

I think Shaked.

If I were confident that Shaked passes the electoral barrier, I would vote for Bayit Yehudi.

I’ve always wanted to give Ayelet Shaked a chance at leadership, I think she’s compromised on her values the least and stayed roughly in the same lane.

I probably won’t decide till I’m in the ballot room. If I do vote, I’m slightly leaning towards Ayelet Shaked.

Among the current round of party leaders, she’s probably the one I trust the most. But I have to weigh that against the real possibility that she won’t make it to the “finish line.”

I decided to vote Bayit Yehudi. I don’t trust anyone or any party on the right, and still have much anger towards Ayelet Shaked. But I’m voting for them because politically and religiously I relate to them most. And I decided to vote with my heart, and not “strategically.”

I liked Ayelet and Bennett. But now without Bennett and a bunch of religious Zionist mediocres and without her likely even making it in, I’m likely voting for gantz although Liberman checks off a lot of boxes for me:(.  Feeling depressed about the entire thing.

This is a rough one. Was actually considering not voting. Then I was leaning towards Ayelet Shaked, even knowing that polls give her no chance of getting in…but with the one in a million chance that my vote will get her in. However after last night’s news… I am leaning towards voting for Smotrich/Ben Gvir.

Probably Ayelet. But kinda hoping she doesn’t cross the threshold and brings Netanyahu down.

I’m voting bayit yehudi   – I trust Ayelet Shaked, want her in Knesset, i support their platform and feel that they took a courageous chance last election – even if it didn’t pan out – it should be commended – people have short memories.

I am in the states – if I was (home), I would vote – Shaked my first choice, and my second choice would be Lapid.  Reason – many more would vote for her, people on the right ran a negative campaign convincing people not to vote for her because she will never get in (which becomes a self-servicing prophecy) even if she does not make it in. the votes will be divided up so it’s not 100% a loss- now the reason, 1) I feel that she works for what’s best for the country as a whole vs her party, 2) honest and sincere, 3) she understands a larger picture, 4) she is “not religious “she more religious than me. She understands what a Jew means. 5) she is not running a negative campaign.

If I believe Ayelet Shaked will pass the threshold, I would vote for her. My first elections in Israel in the 80s I voted for a party, (that) didn’t pass the threshold. I told myself I would never take that chance again. But I always vote by my ideology. Except for once that likud tricked me into voting for them.

It’s obvious that people on the left and center left don’t want or trust Bibi, but there are a surprising number of right wing voters who want to vote right wing but won’t, for one of a variety of reasons including not wanting Bibi to continue as PM, not wanting to vote for a party that would enable Bibi to become PM again, and/or might line up ideologically with religious Zionists (lower case) but cannot and do not see the current party by the same name, or its leaders, being palatable (also for one of a variety of reasons).

If Bibi wasn’t leader of Likud, I would probably vote Likud

National Unity. Solid people on the ticket, Gantz is fine, I like Sa’ar, Matan Kahana, Pnina Tamano-Shata

They seem reasonable and closest to what the Right used to be. Just feel unity has substance and is more right leaning.

Well, I wish there was a political party that had a bit of Bibi (his understanding of global issues is his one strength), a bit of Ben-Gvir (I like his tough stance re terrorists), and a bit of Shaked (her judicial reforms and religious institutions overhaul are refreshing).

Bibi did good things, besides losing his footing, just as Moses was good as a leader, sometimes you need someone with a different approach ( like Yehoshua to lead a different generation) also as Moses or king David who took the Jews out of Egypt or planed the building of the temple- it should not be the same person who brings the Jews in or build the temple because that can lead to corruption.

Nevertheless, Bibi and Likud still have their supporters.

As I told you before, there is no much choice – for Bibi.

Very complicated. I think Bibi and Likud. But Ben Gvir would become disaster to Israel. Bibi needs to be very careful.

Support for Lapid varies among people who like him and admire his leadership in the recent government (and being incumbent PM helps), along with the perception that he and Yesh Atid are the best choice not just for an (extremist) right wing government, but also to keep Bibi out of Balfour.

Lapid. He has done a good job, has plans to continue his centrist path, not Bibi, not a racist.

My wife decided on Lapid few weeks ago,. I only decided on last week. I feel It’s really the only way to Stop Bibi.

Going with Lapid.  Best chance of unseating Bibi. Once Bibi is gone, which might take 2-3 more elections. Then unity government will be easy.

I have been pleasantly surprised with Lapid.  I feel he is working for the country’s best interest, he’s has Apologized for mistakes he’s made, and he willing to work and understand. He worked well with Bennett. ( Hard to Judge what going on in a person’s head ) Leadership is representing the whole country, not just your party, he’s not running a campaign of fear. He understands from his father what it means and the importance of a Jewish state.  I wish he had more of an understanding of what a Jewish state means not just because of the Holocaust.

If I was in the country, then Lapid. Don’t want a government with Ben Gvir.

About half the time when referring to the Religious Zionist party, the person said they are voting for Ben Gvir. Either way, it seems that the recent terror attacks have given them a bump among some people who had been wavering.

Ben Gvir. He speaks to me.

 I am voting for Smotrich and Ben Gvir.  When thinking it over I felt it was important to vote for people who I believe believe in my existence and are proud to be Jewish and believe in a strong Jewish Identity.  We need a strong Israel, enough apologies to the Arabs and the world for our existence.   I know Netanyahu will win and I would rather he choose them than Ganz.

 I know I have to compromise my some of my other ideals, but I am voting for what is most important to me at the moment. I don’t see any other alternative.

I am going with the national religious party. For me all the parties to the left of Bibi are out. That leaves Likud, nrp, charedi parties and maybe Shaked. Shaked is out because of the mess she was involved in with the last government- the fact that she admits she made a mistake makes it worse- Israel can’t afford those types of mistakes. The charedim or out because they are about the money and the stronger they are the harder it will be to integrate those of them that want to join mainstream Israeli society to join.

I’ve never voted as right as Ben Gvir but I might. I voted for Rechavam Zevi, Moledet more than once, but It isn’t that Ben Gvir is more ” right wing”. I just don’t care for his style.

Benny Gantz and the National Unity Party have an appeal because of what they stand for, who’s on the list, and/or as the most palatable alternative to a vote that will hopefully keep Bibi as head of the opposition.

I’m missing the election in the US, but would likely be voting Gantz. Why? Cuz he won’t sit with Bibi and I think he’s reasonable.

Gantz. Least bad.

I am probably voting for Gantz’s party. I toyed with voting Shaked.  In some ways perhaps my best realistic hope would be Bibi not getting 61 and needing new elections (yes crazy to do this again)… but maybe we can get some better people/party composition I could vote for more enthusiastically, like Matan Kahana and his attempted,  reforms, Chili Tropper…there are enough right wingers like Sa’ar etc. to keep Gantz from veering too far left…at least that’s my hope.

Gantz because of Matan Kahana and others in his party, despite him…. And to vote against Bibi.

I’m leaning towards Gantz but I’m still undecided.

Leaning towards Gantz’ party mostly because of Chili Tropper and the mix of dati/right wingers and left wingers and centrists.

I’m considering National Unity… Because I’m hoping that Gantz will join whoever wins… and form as large a coalition as possible. But maybe it’s because I don’t want to vote for Bibi or Lapid…

Some people didn’t answer directly, because of their position and didn’t want to appear partisan, or decided to be philosophical.

LOL. Boy, have you picked the wrong person. I make it an iron clad policy never to discuss this. I found it ONLY leads to uncomfortable places (even subtle) and this is the reason we vote in private. I have held on to many good friends by not sharing this. I don’t even tell my wife. So PLEASE forgive me!

About the Author
Jonathan Feldstein made aliyah in 2004, is married and the father of six children, two children in love, and three grandchildren (so far). He is a long time Jewish non-profit professional. As president of the Genesis 123 Foundation (www.Genesis123.co) he works closely with Christians all over the world who support Israel, building bridges in ways that are new, unique and meaningful. He hosts the Inspiration from Zion podcast, and published a stunning book, "Israel the Miracle" to celebrate Israel's 75th anniversary, featuring 75 essays from Christian leaders all over the world (www.IsraeltheMiracle.com).
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