Vote of confidence

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Having been born and bred in Chicago, I've watched many a machine politician get out the vote. But even the Windy City's electioneering prowess pales in comparison to the well-oiled machinations surrounding the upcoming elections in Israel.

This weekend, two New York-based political organizations, bankrolled by American fat cats, will fly thousands of voters to Tel Aviv in time for the May 17 balloting. The chartered 747s will be met by buses, which will then transport passengers directly to the polling places.

Aside from the political firestorm it has sparked, the most interesting part of this story is the ever-increasing role the travel industry plays in shaping world events.

Want to cast a vote? Your flight departs from gate three. Need to pacify your board of directors? Take the redeye to O'Hare, there's a conference room at the Ramada reserved for 8 a.m. Breakfast will be served.

So, next time you wake up on a rainy Monday thinking that if you have to book one more weekend jaunt to Las Vegas you're going to cash in your chips, consider the idea that you are part of one of the most influential industries on Earth. But don't get too cocky. Remember, if we weren't here to write about this stuff, nobody would ever even know it happened.

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