Ari Kalker
We cannot see the future, but we can shape it!

Zehuts Open Primaries

As many Olim realize quickly in Israel nothing is as it seems.  Rules can change at a moment notice or even without notice.  Whether it’s at the bank or with the cellphone company or any other government agency.  Nothing is clear and straight forward.  There is no part of Israeli life where that is clearer than in politics.

Most Anglo immigrants are used to voting for a specific candidate.  Someone who represents the character and ideas they wish to support.  We are also used to being able to vote against a candidate that very strongly opposes those same views.  That makes perfect sense in a representative democracy.  But of course, things can’t be so clear and straight forward in Israel.

Instead, we have a system of parties.  Each one with their own way of deciding their list.  None of them include input from the general public except one, Zehut. Most are a party of one main personality who, like a king, appoints who he wants to his list.  Other parties have internal primaries where only the party members can vote.  Other parties have internal primaries with a big massive “but.”  But there is a reserved spot for this type of person, and for that gender, or an appointment spot at this slot and so on and so forth. At best you have democracy reserved only for members of the specific party or its elite council of elders.

None of those systems for deciding a kennset list provide much in the way electoral reasonability let alone accountability. What if there was a way to create a system that ensured a party maintained its ideology while holding its list to the test of the general public.  What if there was a party that didn’t fear open and free elections but embraced them?  What if there was a party that honestly believed the most important actor in Israel’s political scene where the citizens of Israel?

Finally, there is a party just like that. Zehut!

Zehut is the only party and the first in Israeli history to hold open Primaries in order to set its list. Zehut is the only party in Israel that believes the most important player on  the political field are the citizens of Israel, the very people our government is supposed to represent.  Zehut as a party holds the values of personal freedom and liberty above all else.

So how does it work?

In the first round of primaries in Zehut held previously all the members of the party voted on the different candidates the top 15 of those candidates moved on to the 2nd round, the open primaries.  In the open primaries, every citizen of Israel 17 and older can vote on the list of candidates in order to determine in what order they will appear on Zehuts kenneset list. Voting in their primaries does not require you to vote for Zehut in the general election, doesn’t even require you to support Zehuts overall ideology of freedom and liberty.

To make the system cleaner and safer from manipulation, Zehut has created a system of points.  Each voter is given 6 points which you can divide however you like amongst the candidates.  You can vote for 1 candidate with 6 points or divide them among the candidates that best represent your views. Zehuts open primaries are revolutionary in Israel, they return the power to the people where it belongs.

For more information on Zehuts open primaries, to register and view the candidates please follow the link here:

About the Author
Ari made aliyah after completing high school in NY, served as an infantry soldier in the IDF, and is a commander in the reserves. He worked for many years with lone soldiers and promoting Zionist education. Ari is was the director of English education at Im Tirtzu and the director of housing at the lone soldier center in memory of Michael Levin. Ari has returned to the for-profit sector and is following his passion for building the land of Israel.