Long-shot race: From Newton, he seeks Knesset seat
Yossef Israel Abramowitz is on the slate of a new Israeli party, Atid Ehad, and the vote on Tuesday is wide open. (Boston Globe Photo / Elizabeth Lippman)
By Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff | March 24, 2006
He’s an absentee candidate.
Yossef Israel Abramowitz, a longtime activist from Newton who first made a name for himself as a student activist at Boston University in the 1980s, is running for the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
Abramowitz, 41, who holds American and Israeli citizenship, will appear in the number-three slot on the slate of a new party called Atid Ehad (One Future) in the Israeli election Tuesday. Though some specialists and polls suggest that his party is unlikely to win, he says he has a pretty good shot.
”If I win, we’ll move to Israel,” Abramowitz said yesterday from New York. ”And you know what, I think we could win.”
The strange tale of his candidacy began in October, when Abramowitz introduced two of his Israeli friends, one an Ethiopian-born activist, the other a teacher. In the vacuum created by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke, the two decided to create a party addressing their two main concerns: education and immigration.
Abramowitz’s role was largely as campaign adviser, though he was eventually listed as the 10th person on the party’s slate of candidates. Then, last week, the party leader called.
”They said they needed me and were putting me at number three,” Abramowitz said. ”A month ago, if you were to tell me this was going to happen, I would have said you were crazy.”
As the number-three candidate, the possibility of winning a seat seems reachable, because of the way Israeli elections are structured. Voters cast a single ballot for one party, which runs a slate of candidates. If a party gets a minimum of 2 percent of the total vote, the top two names on the party’s slate get seats in the 120 member Knesset. The number of additional votes the party receives determines the number of additional seats the party is awarded.
”We’ll need about 70,000 votes,” Abramowitz predicted. ”It’s like filling up Fenway Park twice.” Read more