American Israelis seek to increase role in presidential election
July 11, 2012 1 Comment
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Jerusalem, July 11 – A novel effort is seeking to increase the role in the upcoming U.S. presidential election of the roughly 150,000 American citizens who live in Israel.
As part of the bipartisan iVoteIsrael campaign Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks and GOP strategist Ari Fleischer are in Israel encouraging eligible Americans to register and vote.
During their time in Israel, the RJC representatives are participating in two iVoteIsrael town halls in Jerusalem and Modiin with people from both political parties in an effort to engage voters. The Republican spokesmen are speaking about “America, Israel and the U.S. Elections Through the Eyes of Ari Fleischer and Matt Brooks.”
“With the arrival in Israel of long-time Jewish political heavyweights, Ari Fleischer and Matt Brooks, the entire profile of the U.S. election campaign has been significantly raised, and will make iVoteIsrael’s job of registering voters in Israel, that much easier,” explained Elie Pieprz, National Director of iVoteIsrael.
Pieprz said the group would organize the visit of Democratic Jewish leaders as well. The iVoteIsrael Campaign is run by “Americans for Jerusalem,” a registered 501(c)4.iVoteIsrael describes itself as “an issue-based campaign, expressing our desire to see a Congress and Administration who will support and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to self-defense, without endorsing any specific candidate or party.”
The campaign already has registered American-Israelis in 45 states. Many of these people come from battleground states such as Florida and could have a large impact in the 2012 election.
“I am a survivor of the 2000 election in the US [that George W. Bush won thanks to 537 votes in Florida],” Fleischer told the Jerusalem Post. “If this race will be equally close, there is a possibility that a large number of absentee ballots coming into Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio can make the difference. It is also important to plant a flag on Israeli soil. Politicians notice a massive boost in voting like there could be here.”