Where can an Arab Muslim woman vote in the Middle East? Only in Israel.

The Israeli elections for the 16th Knesset (Israel's Parliament) started a few minutes ago, at 7:00 AM local time. This morning, the following ad appeared in a few French newspapers, including the "Figaro":

The ad reads: "Where does she vote freely" and below: "In Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East"

About one million Arab Muslims are Israeli citizens that have full rights, including the right to vote. See the Democracy page for more details.

Tomorrow I will be listening to Israeli radio and watching hours of live Israeli TV. In the next few days I will be updating the Democracy page , but you can get an idea of which parties are running by checking it here.

In the meantime, I copy below an article from the Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) that gives more info on today's elections.

Polls open as Israel elects the 16th Knesset

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning as some 4.72 million eligible Israelis prepare to cast their ballots for the 16th Knesset.

Voters will be able to select between 26 parties running in the elections. For the first time since the 1992 elections voters will place on one ballot in the box for a party. In previous elections voters cast two ballots, one for the party and on to directly elect the Prime Minister.

The President will ask the leader of the largest party, or the party with the best chance to form a coalition to form the government. The leader then has 60 days to present his cabinet to the Knesset for approval.

Last week the elections began with Israeli representative at the 92 diplomatic missions casting their ballots. Other Israelis living abroad or visiting other countries are not eligible to vote.

On Sunday IDF soldiers and reservists began voting over a three-day period. Their votes will be counted on Thursday after the elections.

Polls are to remain open until 10 p.m. with final results expected early Wednesday morning.

Election Day is a national holiday, but basic services, including transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and places of entertainment are required to provide services. Shopping malls will be open all day. Emergency services will operate on a Shabbat schedule.

The presentation of an Interior Ministry ID card is required in order to vote. Interior Ministry branches will be open on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to issue cards to citizens who have lost or damaged cards. Voter information cards are not required, but are recommended since they list the polling center and booth number, making the process quicker.

Election campaigning is banned within 25 meters of a polling station.

Voting centers can be located by calling the Central Elections Committee hot line, which is to operate during the duration of voting. The English-language hot line number is 1-800-200-135. The Spanish-language line is 1-800-200-136. The main Hebrew line is 1-800-200-131.

Polls in communities with fewer than 350 voters are to open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Polling workers are entitled to close those centers earlier if everyone has voted.

Posted by David Melle
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Hehehehehehe! That's wrong... Muslim women can vote everywhere in all 22 arab countries except Saudi Arabia... In Lebanon, egypt, syria, everywhere. Check ur information and stop stuffing people's brains with false ideas.

Posted by: Aliaa at March 3, 2003 02:43 AM


I strongly disagree with you - Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudia Arabia are far from being democracies.

Could you please point our readers to pages that describe the democracies of:

- Lebanon
- Egypt
- Syria
- Everywhere (Do you mean Saudi Arabia for example? Doesn't Saudia Arabia have a king?)

I would like specific information such as:

- Description of separation of power (do you even know what that is?)
- Parties that ran in the last elections (33 parties in Israel).
- Parties that are represented in the country's parliament (over a dozen in Israel, including 3 Arab/Muslim parties).
- How often are elections held (every 4 years in Israel).

I think your brain is "stuffed" with wrong ideas.

Posted by: David Melle at March 3, 2003 07:26 PM

Thew topic we are talking about is not "democracy" it is whether or not women in the arab world are alllowed to vote and i assure u that WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE IN ALL 22 ARAB COUNTRIES EXCEPT SAUDI ARABIA. can u deny this fact? no u can't because it is a fact... that's not a matter of opinions.

u are accusing me of things before even talking to me. Yes i do knwo what seperation of powers means. I nLebanon we have three powers. one that makes laws and one that applies them and one that makes sure that the laws are applied properly. I knwo what seperation of powers means.

We have a loooooooooot of political parties in Lebanon and that's very well known. We have communists, hizbullah, socialists, haraket amal ........... etc etc etc. u can't deny that as well.

Elections take place every 6 years in Lebanon and that's in our constitution....

Do not give false accusations and once again i repeat the topic is: arab women are/aren't allowed to vote in the arab world. the brainwashing article says they can't which is a huge lie and i think arab countries should sue that newspaper.

Posted by: Aliaa at March 18, 2003 02:51 AM


Again, could you please point to a page similar to the FactsOfIsrael.com Democracy page that shows all of the parties that have participated in Lebanon's "free elections"?

Since there are over 1 million Muslim who vote in Israel and have parties of their own, could you please show me the Lebanese Jewish parties? (oh sorry there are very few Jews in Lebanon and all Arab countries - they were murdered or kicked out in the early 50's).

Also, your hipocrisy is astonishing: Lebanon has been under Syrian occupation for over 10 years! How can you say there are free elections in a country that is clearly under the control of a foreign government (Syria)?

See http://freelebanon.org/ for more details.

Posted by: David Melle at March 18, 2003 08:10 AM

David... AGIAN: the topic is whether or not women can vote in the arab world. They can...u can't deny that. that's what the whole arguement is about...do not change the topic.

Posted by: Aliaa at March 20, 2003 02:22 AM

fabian... AGIAN: the topic is whether or not women can vote in the arab world. They can...u can't deny that. that's what the whole arguement is about...do not change the topic.

Posted by: fabian at March 27, 2003 12:33 PM

Uh how exactly can a woman or man for that matter vote for anything, in a country that is a military dictatorship, or a monarchy. If there are elections, they are obviously rigged.

Posted by: Rudy at May 20, 2003 08:49 PM


A military dictatorship or a monarchy is not a bad thing. Let the ppl in the country/state under a dictatorship decide whether they want change just like Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians. So, let us not force or believes on others.

Posted by: Hasan Yusuf at May 29, 2003 05:25 PM

Four point are to be clarified here:
1. Most of the Lebanese are non-Arabs.
2. Lebanon used to be the only democracy in the region beside Israel, until it became under the occupation of the Syrian Arab Republic.
3. There is some places where woman can vote in Arab countries, but this does not imply any democracy, such as in Syria where the so called elections always ends in 99.9% in favor of the dictator.
4. Alia, wrongfully, mentioned that all 22 countries members of Arab League allow women to vote. That is very wrong, for example women can Not vote in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
Thank you

Posted by: Tony at September 4, 2003 06:36 PM

Yes, Lebanon was the only democracy even before the establishement of the Israeli state. but after the Syrian occupation of lebanon, we lost the fight but we didnot lose the war. Our watr against theSyrians will continue even if we dont have the guns for it. We have other ways. We are a people of culture and civilization of 6000 years....and we're not about to let a bunch of Arab hooligans take over our peace of heaven....
God Bless Lebanon
God Bless Freedom and Democracy
Bashir 7ay feena

Posted by: Serge at February 3, 2004 10:35 AM

Voting is only voting when we have choices. In most Arab countries, voting is a charade, with only one choice. It's such an insult to the people, and they have to take it, just to keep a few men in power. Even in Iran, which is held up as an example of meaningful voting, the ruling mullahs decide that certain candidates can't run, because they're pro-democracy. They're as corrupt as the others. The goal is full and equal opportunity for women in these male-dominated societies. The only way to achieve this successfully is with patience, wisdom, strength, and grace. I know a few women with these qualities.

Once the snowball starts rolling, the avalanche is not far behind.

Posted by: Ruby at January 18, 2005 08:05 AM

all i want is the correct information. Make up your mind

Posted by: Allie at May 25, 2006 01:36 PM

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