Shimon Peres, Israel’s soon-to-be nonagenerian President (he’s 89!), has got to be one of the most new media-savvy politicians out there. Following a popular YouTube video last year calling on people to befriend him on Facebook, Peres has now launched a new campaign, which includes a Facebook application, urging young Israelis to go to the polls on January 22nd and vote in Israel’s general elections.
The president appears in a YouTube video, alongside Israeli TV host and funnyman Eyal Kitzis, encouraging young eligible voters: “You invest so much of your time in voting for reality shows. What about your own reality? Voting is the most important civic duty. It will affect the fate of each and every one of you. Therefore, your vote is crucial.”
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Israel’s last election in 2009 had a relatively low turnout, with only 65 percent of Israelis exercising their right to vote. And while voting is not mandatory in Israel, the president’s message is part of his larger campaign that emphasizes the importance of the vote to democracy.
Announcing the launch of the campaign yesterday at his residence in Jerusalem , Peres said: “We don’t coerce people to vote, and that’s the way we’d like it to stay. But I call on all young first time voters – don’t miss the irretrievable chance to vote for the first time in your life. Go vote!”
As part of the campaign, Peres also launched a Facebook application, which asks young Israelis to encourage their friends to vote. The app asks users to send out invitations to four friends, urging them to vote and use the Facebook check-in feature when they get to the polls.
Photo by Peres