Ten Steps Backward

The parliament system, a system based on superior party affiliation, is a system broken at its very core. Voices of the minorities are stifled, or just bulldozed over, by the opinion of the larger parties. There is no room for those not toeing the party line. A more apt description of the system would be “competition between dictatorships.”

It is a system dedicated to stifling individuality.

On top of this, or more likely as a result of this, the members of the party have no accountability. The party is at fault for whatever issues you may have. The members are merely part of the problematic whole, which is ruled by a dictator.

Israel’s parliament system is no different.

However, it seems that the current party members are interested in making things worse. The bills being put forth raising the threshold for parties to be elected to the Knesset will only serve to inflame and increase the faults of the parliament system. The bigger parties will increase the stifling of lone voices. They will decrease the democracy of the country. The dictators will have more power. And the minorities will be left at the sidelines.

As a result, I see myself in the awkward position of supporting parties I would never have dreamed I would be sharing sides with; the Arab parties- Balad, Ra’am Tal, and Hadash. For Balad MK Zahalke is right. As a “secular, modern, enlightened nationalist” he should not need to join with “the communists and the Islamists.” It is paternalistic to say, “run as a single party. You’re all Arabs.” Voting is about ideology, not ethnic association.

MK Meir Sheetrit was most accurate in saying that there will be no real democratic reform until members are elected by region and, thereby, responsible to their voters. Being held hostage by central committees and party leaders is the very antithesis of democracy.

But this bill is the equivalent of taking ten steps backward.

About the Author
Meir received a BA in Political Science from Lander College for Men and an MA in Politics and Government from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He a recent Oleh who loves Israel: faults and all.