Center for Democratic Values and Institutions

This center is dedicated to fortifying the democratic values and institutions of the State of Israel, based on the humanistic foundations of Judaism and the liberal foundations of Zionism. The Center seeks to strengthen the commitment of Israeli policymakers, opinion shapers and decision makers to the fundamental tenets of Israeli democracy, including freedom, equality, civil rights, separation of powers, transparency and the rule of law.

The center works to thwart populist legislative initiatives, develop sound alternatives, shape policy on education for democracy, ensure a free and independent press, promote a more inclusive society and articulate a common vision for all Israeli citizens.

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    Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler

    Director

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    A board member of the National Press Council and lecturer at the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University. She is a former head of the research department at the Israeli Second Authority for Television and Radio, a former research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

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    Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer

    Vice President, Research

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    Professor Kremnitzer is a professor emeritus of the Faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, former dean of the Faculty of Law, and director of the Israeli Press Council.

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    Adv. Eli Bahar

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    Eli Bahar holds an MA in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and teaches courses in the Law Department of Tel Aviv University. He served as the legal advisor to the Shin Bet from 2006 to 2011.

     

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    Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya

    Co-Director, Arab-Jewish Relations Program

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    Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya holds an MA in education and social geography and is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Tel Aviv University. The topic of her doctoral dissertation is, “The contemporary impact of social space barriers on the inaction and future orientation of young Arabs aged 18–22.”

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs

    Director, Defending Democratic Values Program

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a lecturer in the Politics and Communication Department at the School of Government and Social Sciences at Hadassah Academic College.

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    Adv. Talya Steiner

    Program Manager and Researcher, Proportionality in Public Policy Program

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    Dr. Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan

    Co-Director, Proportionality in Public Policy Program

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    The topics of Dr. Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan’s studies are the politics of investigative committees, the effect of reputation on government agencies, the judicial proportionality of experts, and the effect of corruption in the public sector and the resulting judicial intervention on voter behavior.

Now you know what it's like to feel marginalized and unequal in Israel. Arab citizens know that all too well. That's why we must join forces

Israel’s leadership appears to have diverted from Theodor Herzl’s path. Instead of striving to create equality and a common ground, it is doing everything in its power to incite and divide for the sake of a few more votes.

Citizens must lead the way in the battle against political corruption.

Haredim and Arabs must be integrated into society and economy to take the start-up nation to the next level.

The author proposes a number of policy recommendations that could help Israel’s Arab population, and could be applicable to any society that suffers from socioeconomic segregation and related challenges. This article was first published by Jmore.

The sale of Mobileye to Intel is not surprising when you consider that last year MIT Technology Review ranked the Jerusalem-based company as one of the 10 smartest companies in the world. As such, the real story is the relationship between government, society, and technology.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that “the time has come for the Start-Up Nation to also have a Start-Up Government.” I agree. But can it be done?

It is almost certain that readers of this article will not recognize the name of this man, the terrorist who caused more damage to Israel’s security than any other attacker in recent years. His name is Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, 21, from Hebron.

What is the state of freedom of information in Israel? Like in the US, there is good and bad news.

In Israel, we talk a lot about innovation. But what does the term really mean?

Harnessing the power of readily available technological tools to promote political engagement and revitalize intra-party democratic practices is essential for strengthening party institutions and restoring the public’s faith in government.

Experience and history repeatedly teach us that what was once widely accepted as an irrefutable truth can be revealed to be a total falsehood.

Instead of accepting the Arab local authorities’ proposal for a dialogue and the preparation of a comprehensive joint strategic plan for permitting construction in the Arab locales, the government is continuing to destroy Arab homes in Israel ... and there is no solution on the horizon.

Elor Azaria’s case shows how online pressure by extremist voices can swiftly go viral in the Israeli mainstream, forcing politicians to choose: Play catch up or resist, but at great personal cost.

Ahead of a recent discussion by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on the “Facebook Bill,” IDI’s Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler wrote a policy statement in which she called the bill non-applicable to the modern day. She said the bill is likely to cause disproportionate censorship through what will be dysfunctional legal proceedings.

Dr. Ofer Kenig discusses the multiple ways in which the United States has facilitated the voting process in order to improve voter turnout, and suggests that Israel adopt a number of these innovations. This op-ed originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post

Although one need not agree with the positions held by Israel’s Arab citizens, it can’t be denied that they constitute an independent, moderate voice – and a promising political middle ground on the Palestine- Israeli conflict. This article first appeared in The Jerusalem Post.

When a sizable portion of our decision-makers have that difficulty, and “digital illiteracy” becomes evident in the upper echelons where decisions are made, we’ve got a problem. This article was first published by The Jerusalem Post.

Some 76 years ago, on August 4, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, one of the most prominent Zionist thinkers and leaders, founder and head of the Revisionist movement, Betar youth group and the Irgun paramilitary organization, died prematurely. It is interesting to explore his views on matters related to democracy and liberalism.

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler says rejoicing over the death of television and the birth of “intervision” is premature. This column was originally published by Times of Israel.

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler argues that the main reason the coup in Turkey fizzled is not because of Erdogan’s FaceTime message, but because he had been anticipating this putsch for quite a few years and had arranged the entire legal apparatus that governs the relationship between the Turkish government and the media accordingly. 

Last week, the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee began deliberating over a proposal that would fundamentally alter the Basic Law – The Knesset: The MK Suspension Bill. If passed, the proposed bill would grant members of Knesset the power to remove another parliamentarian. This op-ed originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

The Oscar award-winning “Spotlight” captures the mix of frustration, joy, drudgery and thrill that goes into every great investigative story, reminding viewers of the power of investigative journalism to reveal the abuse of power in the public and private sectors. Could the Pulitzer-prize winning work of the Boston Globe be replicated today?

One of the most fundamental principles of democratic government is the delicate system of checks and balances that prevents the arbitrary exercise of power by the majority. Israel, the sole democracy in a dangerous and unstable neighborhood, has long been an exemplar of these checks and balances. We cannot allow Israel's democratic foundations to gradually erode. Israel’s survival and prosperity hinge, in the final analysis, on its democratic vitality.

This essay makes a case for the international community’s right of self-defense against atrocities, through its members, and to refer briefly to the challenge of implementing such a right. 

Few stories illustrate the unfeeling and aggressive attitude of the Israeli government toward the Arab-Bedouin population of the Negev as well as the case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. In this op-ed, which was first published by JTA, Eli Bahar and Thabet Abu Ras of the Abraham Fund discuss Israel's obligations toward its minority citizens.

The Knesset is currently considering a proposed amendment, sponsored by the Prime Minister, to Basic Law: The Knesset. It would allow a special majority of 90 Knesset members to suspend an MK for an unlimited period of time. In effect, this would be tantamount to an expulsion, with the suspended parliamentarian replaced by the next person on his or hers party’s candidates list. This article was first published by JNS.org.

The integration of talented Arab employees into Israel’s hi-tech sector could relieve the human-resources shortage for employers. Encouraging Arabs to enter the hi-tech industry could improve their economic situation significantly, which would reduce inequality and contribute to a reduction of social tensions in the Arab community.

While in Israel there is no formal constitution, freedom of expression is inherent in our Basic Laws. Yet a recent episode between the Israeli government and the foreign press placed Israel in a problematic light and was neither democratic nor right.

How long will we continue to recite the mantra that “technology cannot be stopped?” To what extent will we take a stand and cease to permit bad social engineering? This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

As Israel gets ready to transition to its new Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, now is a good time to ask ourselves: Was Yehuda Weinstein a good Attorney General? An opinion piece by Guy Lurie, which originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post. 

Dr. Mordechai Kremnitzer argues that it is time for Israel to examine the Shin Bet security service's regulations, based on the assumption that they apply to all residents of Israel. One law must apply to all suspected perpetrators of terrorist acts — Jews and Arabs alike.

Israel refuses to officially disclose the identity of the states to which relocation takes place.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must charge forward and turn his words into action. Only then will he be able to guarantee his vision of Israel as “a source of unity for our people.” (This article was first published by JNS.org.)

In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em>, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer discusses government corruption in Israel and the implications of the Holyland verdict for deterring such corruption in the future.

IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that the only way for Israel to ensure good governance is by adopting a constitution.