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November 7, 2014 4:01 pm

U.S.-Israel Tensions Drove 30,000 Americans in Israel to Vote in Midterms

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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A voter.

Over 30,000 U.S. citizens living in Israel cast their vote in this week’s U.S. elections, according to iVoteIsrael, the leading organization facilitating the ability of Americans in Israel to vote in U.S. elections.

The group has successfully completed its 2014 campaign making voting from Israel more accessible to as many Americans as possible.

“iVoteIsrael is pleased to announce that 30,000 Americans from 36 different states have cast their ballots in the 2014 elections from Israel,” commented Matt Solomon, national director of iVoteIsrael. “This represents an unprecedented increase in voter participation from Israel in a non-presidential election.”

According to iVoteIsrael, the ‘war of words’ between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations that went public during the final weeks of the campaign — including accusations by PM Netanyahu that Israel was being treated in an ‘un-American’ manner, and the labeling of the PM as ‘ChickenSh*t’ by a senior Obama administration official — became a major driver in getting U.S. ex-Pats to vote.

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“The public meltdown of relations by the heads of state was very distressing for American ex-Pats to witness. Voting came to be seen as a unique outlet for American voters in Israel to proclaim their commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, even if that is not as evident from the tone of the leadership,” explained Solomon.

Internationally, American ex-Pats typically have less than a 1 percent v0ter turnout rate in non-presidential elections and only 5 percent in presidential elections. The 18 percent of eligible Americans in Israel who voted in the 2014 elections likely continued the trend of American ex-Pats from Israel leading the world in voting in American elections (data for international voter participation in the 2014 mid-terms is not yet available), further solidifying the unique nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, which is not limited to the diplomatic and strategic levels but also, at the grassroots, electoral, and deeply personal level.

In 2012, the 80,000 Americans who voted from Israel represented more than 25 percent of all overseas voters, representing over 50 percent turnout rate for eligible U.S. voters in Israel.

“This connection between countries demonstrates the breadth of the unique relationship between the two countries. iVoteIsrael is proud to have played a role in illustrating this connection to the public,” concluded Solomon.

Republicans made significant gains in the elections, easily gaining control of the U.S. Senate and increasing their control of the House of Representatives. It was the first time since 2006 that Republicans have controlled both chambers of Congress.

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