Several years ago I was asked by a member of one of Israel’s religious parties for advice on how to reduce “corruption” in Israel, by which he primarily meant MKs animated by personal interests as opposed to the national interest.
I replied: “First and foremost, make all MKs individually accountable to the voters in geographic-constituency elections.”
I was stunned by his candid response: “But then how can we have any power?”!!!
What underlies that self-incriminating response?
Seven reasons why Israel’s politicians stand against reform
- As you know, the first object of a politician is to get elected to the Knesset and then get reelected.
- It’s too expensive and chancy to campaign as a single candidate against a rival in a regional election, where your faults may be exposed, or your past record as an MK may be trashed by your rival. Easier and cheaper to be elected (and re-elected) via a national list.
- Moreover, by getting reelected two or more times, an MK will have a good chance of becoming a Cabinet Minister–the road to POWER and POLITICAL LONGEVITY. Therein is the fundamental reason why MKs oppose geographic constituency elections. Nothing more need be said to understand the questionable character of Israel’s almost seven-decade old parliamentary system.
- The above remarks will also explain Shimon Peres’ presidential election — the same Peres who never won a Knesset election before his becoming Israel’s President!!!
- We could also explain why the Likud party, even when it received 70% of the popular vote in the 2003 Knesset election, opposed regional elections. The reason? The Likud might need a religious party to form a Government. No chance of getting that support if the Likud opposed Proportional Representation, the life-preserver of small parties.
- The above facts explain why Israel has never had a majority party at the helm!
- We could go on and explain how OSLO was a consequence of Israel’s shoddy political system!
But let me conclude with good wishes for Israel’s Independence Day, and urge all Jews to thank the good Lord for this holiday, for He alone is our true guardian.
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