Israeli absentee ballots start flowing in


 Snow continued to blanket Israel — and the homepages of Israeli news websites — on Thursday. 

But as Israelis count down to elections on Jan. 22, their compatriots abroad have begun voting. Unlike in the U.S. elections, Israelis living abroad can’t vote in Israel’s elections. The only exception is for employees of the state, who began casting ballots late Wednesday and will continue through today. 

The Israeli president, a largely ceremonial figure, doesn’t run in Israel’s Knesset elections. But President Shimon Peres, formerly a dovish prime minister, threw his two cents in in a lengthy and wide-ranging New York Times interview, in which he criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic policies.

Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid, has declared in an email message to supporters that he will not enter a governing coalition that does not enact a law mandating across-the-board compliance with Israel’s universal conscription. 

In news about other Israeli elections, Rabbi David Stav, head of the modern Orthodox rabbinic organization Tzohar, has declared his candidacy in the June chief rabbi elections. 

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