IDI's Forum for Political Reform in Israel was established by IDI President Dr. Arye Carmon in September 2009 in response to "the urgent need to generate significant improvement in the capabilities and functioning of the Knesset." Over the course of 2009-2010, the Forum met under the chairmanship of Supreme Court President (Ret.) Justice Meir Shamgar, bringing together some 100 academicians, retired judges and politicians, public figures, and businessmen to formulate practical proposals for structural reform. Headed by IDI Research Fellow Prof. Gideon Rahat, a team of 10 IDI researchers formulated a series of recommendations for political reform, which were presented to the Knesset for debate and implementation. Special emphasis was placed on strengthening the Knesset through fundamental changes to Israel's electoral system.
The call to change the governmental system had been circulating in the public discourse for quite some time. This phenomenon was strengthened by the findings of IDI's 2009 Israeli Democracy Index, which pointed to a worrying trend of erosion in the Israeli public's confidence in most of the democratic institutions and structures, and revealed the public's rejection of politics. For Israeli democracy to remain stable and healthy, the public must provide legitimacy to its elected officials and this was not happening.
Under the guidance of IDI Senior Researcher Prof. Gideon Rahat, a team of IDI researchers formulated a series of recommendations for political reform. Their work was based on a rigorous analysis of the performance of Israel's political system since the founding of the State and on a comparative study of the performance of 35 developed democracies throughout the world. The underlying principle of the work was that parliamentary democracy is the only political system that can properly represent the varied groups, beliefs, opinions and desires in Israel's multicultural society.
At each stage, the IDI research group presented its recommendations to the members of the Forum. Established by IDI in September 2009, the Forum and its committees were comprised of approximately 100 senior figures of the Israeli political and legal system, including retired Supreme Court justices, former ministers and former Knesset members, CEOs of government agencies, municipal public officials, former government secretaries, former director generals of the Prime Minister's Office, public figures, university presidents, and representatives of the business sector. These participants carefully examined the electoral and structural reforms aimed at repairing and stabilizing the systems upon which Israeli parliamentary democracy is based.
The proposals of the IDI research team and the Forum were presented to the Knesset for debate and implementation on March 28, 2011.
Chairman of the Forum:
Supreme Court President (Emer.) Justice Meir Shamgar
The IDI Research Team
Director: Prof. Gideon Rahat
Prof. Matthew S. Shugart, University of California, San Diego
Forum Meetings: 2009-2010
Presentation of Recommendations
On Monday, March 28, 2011, Former President of the Israeli Supreme Court Meir Shamgar, Chairman of IDI's Forum for Political Reform in Israel, submited the Forum's recommendations to date to Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin. For further information about this event, click here.
Members of the Forum for Political Reform
* Participated in the Forum’s deliberations but expressed reservations regarding several of its recommendations
Members of the Committee for Improving the Efficiency of the Work of the Knesset
Members of the Committee for Improving the Efficiency of the Work of the Executive Branch
In the interview below, Prof. Gideon Rahat discusses the reforms recommended in Reforming Israel's Political System, published by IDI in 2013.
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IDI Researcher Dr. Chen Friedberg warns that the government's prolonged inability to appoint a permanent head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee may be causing serious harm to the very foundations of Israeli democracy.Read More
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A professional assessment of proposed changes to Basic Law: The Government and the Election Bill, which was submitted by Prof. Gideon Rahat to MK David Rotem, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
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Dr. Ofer Kenig, of IDI's Political Reform project, cautiously examines whether the events of the Arab Spring indicate the rise of substantial democracy in the Arab world or whether they merely exchanged one type of authoritarian regime for another—a non-liberal Islamic regime.Read More
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A Comparative Perspective
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Author: Or Tuttnauer,
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Author: Nir Atmor,, Chen Friedberg,
A Hebrew booklet for decision-makers that summarizes recommendations made in two IDI publications: Legislative Oversight of the Executive Branch in Israel and Reforming Israel's Political System.
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Developed for Israeli policy-makers, this booklet is a summary of the content of the book Reforming Israel's Political System, which was . It offers an overview of the shortcomings of Israel’s political system in four areas—the electoral system, political parties, the Knesset, and the government—and presents key recommendations for reform.Find out More
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