Israel’s electoral and governmental system is a formula for political paralysis. What may have been seen as appropriate to the country’s needs in its early years is clearly hindering political progress today.
Here are a few examples of the problems that plague our system of government today:
- There is insufficient separation between authorities. Roughly one third of Knesset members serve as ministers or deputy ministers. They are therefore forbidden to introduce laws or participate in Knesset committees.
- Israel’s electoral threshold is one of the lowest in the world and opens the doors to small parties, representing a small segment of the electorate to wield a disproportionate amount of influence. Studies show that almost three quarters of all government decisions are not implemented – due in large part to the opposition of small parties.
- Due to the built-in instability of the system, we hold elections – on average – every two years. In the last two decades, we have had on average a new defense minister ever year. How can Israel’s government make real progress on crucial issues when the shadow of an upcoming election is ever-present? The same paralytic instability pervades government ministries as well.
- Small political parties are able to extract big concessions from the ruling party for the sake of keeping the coalition together. The Tal Law is an example of the disproportionate influence wielded by small parties at the cost of national progress and fairness.