JERUSALEM — In Tzur Hadassah, a politically moderate suburb of Jerusalem, Ari Hoffman, a Denver native, said he cried as he cast his first ballot after moving from Denver last summer.
“It was an emotional thing for me to have my first time having a vote in the Jewish state,” said Hoffman, a psychotherapist whose clients are largely in the US.
“Politically, it was more important to vote than who I voted for.”
Ultimately, after getting a tutorial in Israel’s complicated political system from a friend who immigrated earlier, he decided to vote for Yesh Atid, Lapid’s centrist party.
“The social values are consistent with my values, but not necessarily the religious ones,” said Hoffman, who is Orthodox. “I had to make a choice.”
He said he was disappointed by the results but not overly worried because he expected that a new government would not last long. His wife, Miriam Hoffman, said she was more concerned.
“I want for our world a less tribal, less polarized political and social environment. This to me felt like a doubling down of that tribalism,” she said.
“I feel pretty disappointed. I don’t know that practically a whole lot will change, but it’s not what I want for the world I live in.”
Miriam Hoffman said she had spent the morning after the election at the Israel Museum, where she saw Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking school groups sharing the space.
“It reminded me that this country is really a diverse and colorful and human place,” she said.
“Yes, the government in charge does impact daily life, but at the core there’s really good people who want to put food on their tables and take care of their families and I hope that goodness wins out at the end of the day.”
Her hope, she said, is tempered by having seen what has happened in the US over the past six years.
The Hoffmans said they had grappled with whether it was fair to make a move that would obligate their children, who are 17, 13 and seven, to military service.
Ultimately, they concluded that it was, and their oldest child has her first summons to the Israel Defense Forces next month.
Ari Hoffman said he was proud of his daughter but concerned that provocations by Ben-Gvir and his followers, who have fueled conflicts in the past, could put her and others at risk.