Dysfunctional political systems in Israel

The Knesset: 61 years of parliamentary democracy, and counting, in Israel. But do its members properly love their country? Or does the dysfunctional way Members are chosen, with their election rules that do not conform to Jewish law, lead to a pointless scramble for patronage? A new Manifesto calls for radically reforming the way Israel picks Members of this body. Furthermore, terms like right and left, as in other parliaments, mean little when no one will articulate first principles.
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The title of a previous article by me was “Israel’s Persistent Misjudgment.” This title may construe to reflect on the intellectual level of political science departments in Israel. Hence it reflects also on the caliber of Israel’s typical political scientists. They would certainly regard me with no great affection.

How Israel’s political system shows itself dysfunctional

Indeed, I have long been a critic of Israel’s dysfunctional political system. This criticism elicits little more than a yawn from the political scientists in this maligned and besieged country.

They rarely, if at all, publish a systematic critique of Israel’s demonstrably inferior system of government. This inferiority shows itself by a single fact: Israel’s parliamentary electoral system of Proportional Representation (PR) has produced thirty and more political parties in the last two national elections, all competing for seats in the Knesset. As a consequence of PR and its burgeoning parties, Israel has never had a majority government! Shouldn’t this produce a persistent uproar from Israeli political scientists? Let me mention a charming fact.

Israeli governments consist of a coalition of diverse and ideologically antagonistic parties – secular, religious, and amorphous. Their prime objective is to obtain a larger share of the nation’s treasury and ministerial posts. They also seek the hundreds of jobs derived from this spoils system, to facilitate their success in the next election.

This is not to suggest that Israel’s system of government is more corrupt than that of others, although international studies do not praise Israel’s as praiseworthy or honorable. The resignation and/or incarceration of some of Israel’s highest officials tell the story. But the learned professions in Israel and political scientists do not raise hell about this revolting state of affairs. This failure is symptomatic of a decline of culture in the “chosen people.” That in turn amounts to a desecration of God’s Name.

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