The Political System of Israel

The most comprehensive and up-to-date work on the government systems in Israel, spanning the development of Israel's political system from its inception in 1948 until 2011.

The Political System of Israel is the most comprehensive and up-to-date work on the government systems in Israel, spanning the development of Israel's political system from its inception in 1948 until 2011. This two volume set combines presentations of facts with analyses of political processes and their significance, and its authors, Prof. Yitzhak Galnoor and Dr. Dana Blander, do not hesitate to take a stand on controversial issues.

Topics covered in the first volume of this set include: The formation of Israel's political system in the early years of the State against the backdrop of the heritage of the Yishuv, and the questions that were left for future generations; the institutions of Israel's political system (the Knesset, the government, the courts , the presidency, monitoring mechanisms, and local government ) and the crisis of leadership; political participation in Israel (in elections, political parties, civil society organizations, and the media) and the decrease in public's confidence in their elected representatives. The second volume discusses four major problems that have accompanied Israel's political system since its inception: security, the status of Israel's Arab citizens, economic inequality and social gaps, and religion and state. After exploring Israel's inability to cope with these issues, it concludes with an overview of Israel's political culture.

Topics covered in this two-volume Hebrew set include:

Establishing the State: The Supremacy of Politics

  • The Formative Early Years of the State (1948–1953)
  • Does Israel Have a Constitution?

Institutions Matter

  • The Presidency and the Symbols of Power
  • The Knesset: First among Equals
  • The Executive Branch and Attempts to Strengthen It
  • The Judiciary's Growing Involvement in Public Life
  • Oversight and Monitoring Mechanisms: State Comptroller; Inquiry Commissions; Attorney General
  • Local Authorities: A Weak Democratic Link

The Political Public

  • Citizens' Participation: Despair about the Political System?
  • The Crisis of the Political Parties
  • Elections: The Uncertain Mandate from Israeli Voters
  • Government Coalitions: A Steering Mechanism
  • Civic Society: The (Third) Sector that Grew Unnoticed by the State
  • Can the Media (Old and New) Substitute for Politics?

Unresolved Policy Problems

  • Security Reigns Supreme
  • The Arabs within Israel: Equal Citizens?
  • Politics, Society and Economics: Social Equality
  • The "Jewishness" of Israel: State and Religion

Democracy in Israel

  • The Political Culture: Stocktaking

Prof. Itzhak Galnoor is Herbert Samuel Professor of Political Science (Emeritus) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and President of the Israeli Association of Political Science. He served as Israel's Civil Service Commissioner during the Rabin administration (1994–1996) and is currently the head of a multidisciplinary project entitled "State Responsibility and the Boundaries of Privatization" at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

Prof. Galnoor's previous books in English include: Government Secrecy in Democracies; Can Planning Replace Politics? The Israeli Experience (with R. Bilski, D. Inbar, Y. Manor and G. Sheffer); Steering the Polity: Communication and Politics in Israel; No Laughing Matter: A Collection of Political Jokes (with Steven Lukes); The Partition of Palestine: Decision Crossroads in the Zionist Movement; and Public Management in Israel.

Dr. Dana Blander is a researcher at IDI, the editor of IDI's online magazine "Parliament," and a clinical psychologist. Her research focuses on Israeli politics, specifically civic participation and deliberative democracy, referendums, anti-democratic legislation, public opinion and investigation committees.

Dr. Blander received her degrees in Political Science and Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her doctoral thesis, "Ambivalence as a Challenge to The Political Order," won the Hebrew University Berger Prize for academic excellence. During the 2010–2011 academic year, she was a Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor at Tufts University.

For additional information about this publication, contact Dr. Dana Blander at