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Alex Rose

Confused over its Resolution

“Want to save Israel from another meaningless election? Change the way the country votes.” [Dr, Neil Rogachevsky, Tablet Jan.02, 2020]

The headline in i24 news reads, ” Israel’s Herzog to promote unity government.” He makes the statement as if he is unique, while many others might have used the same words and failed.

True, he comes from an illustrious family, but neither his record or experience suggests that he is in the same league. Most certainly when it comes to his brilliant uncle, Yaacov Herzog. Isaiah Berlin described Yaacov as “—one of the best and wisest, most attractive and morally most impressive human beings I have ever known.”

According to i24 News, Herzog said, “I intend to roll up my sleeves after the elections and work towards the establishment – at any cost – of an enlarged unity government, in so far as ;possible, in order to bring stability to the system, because Israeli citizens are tired of these election cycles.”

He also added, “The larger a government, the more likely it is to be stable and actually work to benefit the interests of the country’s citizens.” This statement alone demonstrates his lack of knowledge on this vital subject and runs counter to the voices of established experts. Herzog should consult them before moving forward on this item.

Perhaps Professor Paul Eidelberg is a leader in this field. His book, “Jewish Statesmanship “is nothing less than the philosophical, constitutional, and programmatic foundations for salvaging and reconstructing the State of Israel.

His Policy Paper # 79, 1999, “Making Votes Count: They Don’t in Israel” facilitates instruction in understanding the core of the given subject. For those Israeli citizens who do vote, but whose votes do not count, he asks why. His answer, because Israel’s parliamentary electoral system is based on fixed party lists, not on district or constituency elections. “Knesset Members [MKs] owe their position, power, and perks not to the voters, but to party bosses.”

It can be readily seen how this violates the principle of representative democracy. Israel is the only one of 75 countries that does not have district elections.

Eidelberg’s, “Israeli Democracy” posted by Arutz 7 on Aug. 15, 2013, has as an  introduction, “It is no wonder that so many [Israeli] citizens feel powerless to affect government actions—— Enough said!

Earlier in 2013, The Washington Post published Dylan Matthews, “The secret behind Israel’s dysfunctional political system.”He addresses Israel’s type of proportional representation that it has settled on, which he describes as a dead simple “pure party list” system. There are no geographic  districts. “Instead, no voter ever votes for an actual person.”Hence, instead, every voter votes for a single party.

Moshe Dann writing in the Jerusalem Post of November 9, 2019 had the title, “Is Israel a democracy?” Could it be more pointed?

He believes that essentially it is, but “there are major flaws in its political and electoral systems.” Consider by way of a few examples.:

[a] Members of the Knesset are not accountable to voters.

[b]Votes of parties that do not pass the threshold are discarded.

Dann says that this “explains why so many Israelis [roughly one-third] don’t bother to vote.” He also makes the point that Government officials and politicians who criticize those who don’t vote are to blame for failing to change this system, or at least acknowledging its fault. He adds, in a democracy, the best way to evaluate and determine what citizens prefer, is by looking at how they vote, not ignoring it

Moshe Dann brings to mind several atrocities which comes to mind, a consequence because citizens are , in fact, disenfranchised. He recalls:

[1] Yitzhak Rabin, as head of a Labor Party-led minority coalition, bribing 2 MKs from the right-wing opposition to pass highly controversial legislation – the Oslo Accords [1993-1995], by a single vote. Not only that, Israel’s judicial and legal system did not protest this unethical, if not illegal act.

[2] Ariel Sharon became prime minister in 2005. In 2005, in order to avoid opposition to his plan of unilateral withdrawal  from the Gaza Strip and 4 Jewish communities in Samaria, he departed Likud and formed the Kadima Party, supported by the Labor Party – without any electoral process!

[3] Following Sharon’s death in 2006, he was replaced by Ehud Olmert, who was convicted of corruption and sent to prison in 2014. His party ended in 2015 – “a symptom of a compromised, corrupted system.”

Moshe Dann is quick to acknowledge Paul Eidelberg’s ” “Making Votes Count: They Don’t in Israel”, which he considers an excellent analysis of the problem and a plan for comprehensive reform as proposed. He wisely recognizes that Knesset legislation can solve the problem, but it requires courage and wise leadership.

A Knesset committee can call for proposals to reform the electoral system. Following open sessions to discuss the proposals, short versions could be published in Israeli newspapers. Thereafter, the Knesset could implement changes, which would renew and revitalize Israeli democracy.

Moshe Dann at the time advocated its immediate commencement as “—we have waited long enough.”And here we are in 2022 and still waiting! Perhaps our newly appointed president could take the lead, instead of dreaming.

At the time of writing, one can only be shocked and horrified by the so-called prime mister of Israel Lapid’s utterances at the United Nations. Yet another loose cannon. It seems that he is willing to befriend our enemy and make an enemy of the Jewish people. One would have hoped that for once a Jewish leader would have proclaimed our indigenous rights to the Land of Israel .On the other hand much encouragement arises from the words of Naftali Bennett.

“The path I led as Prime Minister: ‘Not to quarrel with the whole world unnecessarily , but also not to fold unnecessarily. There is no place or logic to re-flood the idea of a Palestinian state. The year is 2022, not1993. Even the true friends of the State of Israel do not expect us to compromise on our future.”

Lapid does not even recollect his marginal position. Contrary to his desires he will unite the nation in opposition to his heartless soul.

“This genius of Jewish diplomacy, will be an example and a model for anyone who seeks to serve the State in its highest echelons. The Jew in him enriched everyone who met him, and to everyone he gave something of his devotion, something of his faith.” These words were uttered by the illustrious Elie Wiesel upon the passing of Yaacov Herzog,  age 50 on March 6, 1972. One has to wonder what he would of said about the traitor Lapid.

 

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.