Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "In a meeting held Friday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman agreed to push for electoral change in the winter Knesset session as well as the creation of a constitution. In light of the unstable Israeli system of government (last gov't to serve four years was Menachem Begin's one between 1977-81), do you think concepts such as direct elections, which did not produce the desired results last time around, and a constitution would work for a country such as Israel? " For all replies, see "Burning Issues #5: Should Israel change its system of gov't?"
Israel has the world's worst democracy. That is to say, of all countries with a fully democratic system, Israel boasts the most dysfunctional process. The reasons go back to eastern Europe and Russia at the origins of the Zionist movement.
When, one wonders, will Israelis take matters into hand and make the requisite and ever-more-urgent changes? For starters, a constitution would replace the malleable hodgepodge of Ottoman, British, and Israeli laws. For another, a population of seven million sorely needs to be divided into constituencies; keeping the whole country as a single electoral district implies an unjust distribution of services and access.
Israel's political instability, however, reflects more profound problems than what even improvements to the system can address. For some twenty years, the electorate has been massively indecisive about the key of how to deal with hostile neighbors. Until a consensus re-emerges such as existed in the country's first nearly thirty years, the current volatility will likely continue. (October 9, 2006)