Who Governs Local Government?
- Written By: David Dery, Binat Schwartz-Milner
- Publication Date:
- Cover Type: Softcover | Hebrew
- Number Of Pages: 126 Pages
- Price: 45 NIS
An analysis of the status of local government in Israel and the current centralized system in light of accepted democratic principles, including a proposal for a gradual process of comprehensive reform.
It is strange that the language of Israeli democracy still lacks an accepted Hebrew term for the English word “accountability.” Who is accountable to citizens? Who must report to them about events in schools, welfare offices, on the roads, and in residential neighborhoods? How should local governments take account of its residents’ special needs, wishes, and priorities when they themselves have to lobby in the corridors of power in Jerusalem?
Even though mayors have been directly elected since 1978, the dominant view in Israel does not see local government as a separate arm of government but rather as a “local administration,” an executive arm of the central government.
The central government sets a uniform policy for all local authorities, which must either comply with its wishes or overstep its authority and budget. Instead of democratic oversight by an aware public, what has developed in Israel is bureaucratic oversight, which leaves citizens and their representatives with only a marginal role in the local government system. This work raises the question of the status of local government in Israel, analyzes the current centralized method in light of accepted principles of the democratic system, and proposes a gradual process for implementing a comprehensive reform that would help strengthen Israeli democracy and improve the quality of life of Israeli citizens.