How to stop Israel's endless elections

Dr. Norman Bailey

Restoring stability to Israel's political system requires a couple of fundamental reforms.

Ho-hum, another election coming up. Will the cycle never end? Will a stable government finally be formed? And finally, does it matter?

After all, the economic, military and international situations are all pretty good to excellent, and as an Israeli friend once told me, when I complained about the lousy governmental structure, "Don't worry--we don't pay the slightest attention to what the government does!"

Well, maybe so, but then again, maybe they should. Especially with the possibility of a government dependent upon the support of extremists who threaten not the structure, but the essence of democratic governance.

At least two changes in the structure of the government are absolutely essential if the electoral circus is to come to an end:

Term limits. At least the position of prime minister must be limited to a maximum of two terms, not necessarily consecutive. In a true democracy no-one is indispensable, or if he or she is, it is not a democracy. Henry Kissinger once said "Power is an aphrodisiac" (he should know). Even Winston Churchill, one of the truly greats of modern history, didn't know when to quit and was unceremoniously turned out of office by a nonentity after leading Britain to victory in World War II (Churchill characterized Clement Attlee, the Labour Party leader who succeeded him thus: "An empty taxi pulled up at No 10 Downing Street and Clement Attlee stepped out.")

The members of the Knesset currently represent no-one but their party leader. This must be changed to a system whereby all or most of the members of the Knesset are elected in constituencies, and thus represent and are responsible to real people. If a Briton or an American has a serious problem, they know they can always go to their Congressperson or member of Parliament for redress. Not here.

There are other changes in both the executive and legislative branches of government that would be helpful, but these two are essential. Can a true leader be found to push them through? We shall see.

Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on October 30, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

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