Jan 24, 2013

The need for government reform

There are too many problems with the way government is established in Israel.

1. We need term limits. A healthy democracy cannot have one prime minister running things for too long. It becomes almost a dictatorship at some point. Maybe three terms, maybe two, maybe four, I don't know what is the right amount, but at some point the country needs a new prime minister. Nothing against netanyahu specifically, but I don't think i tis healthy to have one guy in the office for too long.

2. the way coalitions are built do not take into account what the voter wants. For example, while coalition building for this Knesset is only just getting started, Netanyahu is clearly scorning Bayit Yehudi. Nobody knows why for sure, but whatever the reason, it is wrong. Bayit Yehudi is one of the natural partners of the Likud. The people want Bayit Yehudi in the government. Much of the Likud has expressed that they want Bayit Yehudi in the government. Bayit Yehudi's platform and their statements have been well within line of what the government wants to focus on. if they would hold positions completely opposed to what the PM wants to focus on, that would be one thing. But when they are very much in line with that, the PM should not be able to ignore such a party so flippantly.

3. all the good old regular problems of sectorial parties and small parties holding too much power, creating unstable government, and the like.

One of the main points of Yair Lapid's campaigning was governmental reform. I don't know if he included any of these issues in his concerns and in what he wants to accomplish.  I know he is for shrinking the government and for showing responsibility in leadership. I hope he also takes these issues into account when he begins to work on his reforms..

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  1. 1. Term limits sound great but then you get lame-duck leaders who don't care about anything other than creating their legacy because they know they don't have to face the vote ever again. That's not so great.
    2. Bibi is scorning the Bayit Yehudi because he can take them for granted.
    3. If you raised the seat threshhold to 5% you'd wipe out a lot of the smaller parties. There are two problems with this. One is that no major party will ever agree because the next election might end in a majority... for the other guy! Secondly, this might have worked when there were 2 major parties but the last few elections have shown the Likud to be the one genuine "big" party left, especially after the fall of Kadima. So you'd be looking at Likud running the government forever with one or two junior partners.

  2. Most of these problems will be solved, or at least ameliorated, if the elections are changed to regional ones. Of course, that also won't happen because it would limit the power of the heads of the parties over their members.

  3. Good points all around but I have to disagree.

    2) Certainly Mighty is right. The party has no self-respect if it continually insists it will enter the government. This is the old Mafdal - enter the government at any cost - nothing new here.
    3) Thank you as well Mighty, please add that small parties are a sign of a healthy democracy where people still believe in it. Raising the threshold means no new party would risk entering the fray, and it would also make people sit home. There is obviously many people who wanted Otzma, Am Salem, and Koach but these candidates would not be able to sit with anyone else at this point. Did anyone really vote for Lapid to get Lipman into the Knesset?

  4. I was horrified when I read the interview with Lipman in Friday's Makor Rishon (p. 8). He said he supports land concessions to the Palis. Unfortunately this hasn't been picked up by the English media, so for all of you olim in Beit Shemesh, he is still your darling. I'm horrified!

  5. Here is the article:


  6. The government actually created a commission a few years ago to study the issue and they came up with some very good proposals. The main points were:
    1. Half the Knesset (60 MK's) whould be elected in regional elections in 17 districts each district sending 2-5 MK's to the Knesset
    2. The other 60 MKs will be elected by proportional representation, according to the total number of votes that each party wins in the regional elections.
    3. The number if ministers is capped at 18
    4. Except for the prime minister and his deputy, all other MKs chosen for the cabinet will have to resign their Knesset seats

    See my post Election reform in Israel for more.

  7. You are right that the system is broken, however, I don't think term limits or other minor changes are the answer. The system needs fundamental reform. See my post here The electoral system in Israel is broken ... for some very specific suggestions.

  8. I agree. I have been a proponent for a long time (I am not going to look for old posts right now) of real reform, going to district representation, a two-party system, and less of a parliamentary system and more of a presidential system. However, Israel isnt doing that so quickly,. so in the meantime, we more immediately need things like term limits, less ministers, more consideration in coalition building for what the people actually want as representation...


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