Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: coalition, Elections, government, knesset, posted by elan, proportionality, reform
One of the strengths of the Israeli political system is its high degree of proportionality–the makeup of the knesset very closely resembles the relative success of the parties in the election. In the past 15 years, the Knesset has seen a massive shift in composition, marked by the weakening of the ‘big tent’ parties and emergence of single-issue campaigns that can muster enough votes to capture a few seats. In general, this has allowed the small parties hold coalitions hostage to their demands and topple the government. In fact, the average lifespan of a government has decreased markedly since the establishment of the State.
I would like to introduce for public debate and criticism a system I call ‘hyper-proportional government’. Each voter would be allowed to split his or her vote into a number of discrete parts, and cast fractional votes for different parties. These micro-votes would be tabulated as usual and the Knesset seats would be allocated in accordance with the results. Voters who currently cast their ballots for a one-issue party because of strong convictions or desires would have the opportunity to support all of their favorite positions instead of just one, and even support a major party. Voters who currently choose large parties will have the chance to distribute some of their vote to smaller causes. I am not sure whether this would help concentrate power in the larger parties or not. Either way, it should help develop stronger coalitions. The new Knesset and coalition would be extremely representative of voter mandate, and thus ride the political winds more adeptly.
Please comment on this idea! Hopefully, I’ll be able to incorporate your suggestions and expand this idea further. I hope to address some of the technical considerations in a later article.
Filed under: opinion | Tags: barak, bibi, Elections, Livni, posted by beanieman12
This Tuesday is election day in Israel! With Benyamin (Bibi) Neyanyahu of Likud currently leading the polls ahead of Tzipi Livni of Kadimia and Ehud Barak of Labor, there are still many question regarding who will win and which party will receive more seats in Kennest. To help navigate the confusing Israeli election system the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as put out this handy guide while both Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post have special section dedicated to the elections.
Filed under: opinion | Tags: america, blockade, diplomacy, Elections, fatah, gaza, Hamas, Israel, posted by zionismlives, tunnels
Ok, so the battle for the safety of Israel’s citizens is over—for the moment. But the war between Israel and its enemies continues and will continue if respect for human dignity and diplomacy is not undertaken by both sides of the conflict.
In the most recent war, we can all (hopefully) agree that Hamas did many awful things including continuing rocket fire on Israeli civilians, using Palestinian civilians as shields, and keeping the war going despite the heavy casualties in their population.
But, I will claim (and many reading this will no doubt disagree with me) that Israel has acted in ways that I am ashamed of. It continued the complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that the blockade is a major excuse by Hamas for its shameful rocket attacks. This complete blockade, having been in place for more than 18 months (since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip in June of 2007), is a big reason why there are so many tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. With the normal ways to get goods out of the question for Gazans, they searched for a means to get basic goods to their people and thus make a living. The solution came in the tunnels that Hamas soon utilized to smuggle rockets and arms into their land.
Israel also created a complicated travel system in Gaza during the War that prevented many humanitarian supplies from getting to their intended targets. I cannot and will not deny the fact that Israel and other countries and organizations pledged lots of supplies to the civilians of Gaza, but I will maintain that the vast majority of those who needed the help were unable to get it. This is because of the active military actions in the Strip and the lack of communication between IDF forces and humanitarian suppliers. This pushed Gazans to blame Israel, not Hamas for their troubles because to them, Israel both destroyed their homes and denied them access to medicine and such. Israel, I know, was not out to hurt the civilian population of Gaza, but it did not justly deal with the realities on the ground that civilians were going to be hurt because of Hamas’ despicable tactics.
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: barak, bibi, economics, Elections, Israel, Kadima, labor, likud, Livni, negotions, Olmert, palestinians, peace, posted by Joshman 91, war
Throughout this dreadful Olmert Administration, our ears have been tortured with the same, old rhetoric. This whole notion that we can simply trade “land for peace” has proven to be unproductive. The fundamental concept that politicians from all sides have ignored is economics. If a country goes to war, there is usually an economic justification. Hence, if we want the Palestinians to choose peace over terror, then there must be an economic incentive for them to do so.
While he may not be perfect, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear that he understands this principle. This was evident in a Jerusalem Post article the other week that stated “Bibi pledged to help the Palestinians ‘rapidly develop their economy’ if he wins the February elections.” Although Bibi’s policies regarding negotiations are much more hawkish and hardline than those of Livni or Barak, he has vowed to continue the peace process, and, in relation to this issue, he has stated that “economic development is not a substitute for political negotiations.”
When Bibi says that he will boost the Palestinian economy, can we trust him? Yes, the record speaks for itself. As Finance Minister, he enacted many free-market reforms which revived the Israeli economy. If he can do the same thing to the Palestinian economy, there would be no need for endless negotiations. Trends in history have shown that “men are usually more tolerant when their belly’s are full.”