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The start-up nation owes it success to the democratic system of government established by its founders. Israel’s liberal democracy not only unleashes the creative talents of individual Israelis, it fosters a business environment favorable for the establishment of companies with disruptive potential on a global scale. However, Israel’s continued success should not be taken for granted. Indeed, there are a number of signs that Israeli governance may be weakening.

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. 

In an article in The Marker, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie recommend ways of ensuring that the performance of the Israeli Attorney General is evaluated on a regular and systematic basis.

Ever since he was elected, President Reuven Rivlin has been under attack from the extreme right wing in Israel. Why should a right-wing President be under attack from the right? IDI Researcher Dr. Amir Fuchs explores the origins of the animosity towards Israel's liberal, right-wing President.

Dr. Ofer Kenig argues that amending the clause of the Basic Law that limits the number of ministers in the next government to 19 is not only unnecessary, but also brings about a sense of déjà-vu that the Knesset is defying the rules of the game once again.

In 2009, IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon established The Forum for Political Reform in Israel in response to "the urgent need to generate significant improvement in the capabilities and functioning of the Knesset." On March 28, 2011, Forum Chairman Meir Shamgar, Former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, submitted the Forum's recommendations to the Knesset. In this video interview, Dr. Carmon speaks about the Forum, its key recommendations, and obstacles to political reform in Israel. 

IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon, one of Israel's foremost experts on political reform, sums up the Israeli political scene at the end of the first decade of the third millennium in an article that was published in collaboration with Walla!, a popular Israeli website.

As the United States debates whether or not to cut aid to Egypt in the aftermath of the military-led ouster of President Muhammad Mursi, IDI Vice President of Strategy Dr. Jesse Ferris makes the case for increasing US aid to Egypt.

Anti-politics is the aversion of citizens to political institutions and elected political figures. In this article, IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Tamar Hermann and IDI researchers Yuval Lebel and Hila Zaban survey different types of anti-politics, distinguish between anti-politics and de-politicization, and present insights about Israeli anti-politics based on the findings of the 2008 Israeli Democracy Index.

As of November 22, 2016, Benjamin Netanyahu will have occupied the Prime Minister’s Office for 2,793 days in a row, thereby surpassing David Ben-Gurion for the longest continuous tenure as premier in Israeli history. 

Donald Trump’s surprise win seems to illustrate the awesome power of the Internet-savvy individual in politics.

“Pray for the welfare of the government. For if it were not for fear of it, one man would swallow his fellow alive (Avot 3:3).”

IDI President Yohanan Plesner argues that electoral reform will not suffice to fix the short-term-ism that is destroying Israel's capacity for long-term planning and policy execution; reform of the internal processes of the parties themselves is required. This op-ed first appeared in the Jerusalem Report.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s once unthinkable ascension became a reality earlier this month, following a largely drama-free roll call vote on the Republican National Convention floor. Trump is a prime example of a candidate whose vision and ideas are not a direct reflection of his party's values and policies, and who, in many ways, battled his way to the top of the party. His nomination is just one example of a current trend toward political personalization, a process in which the influence of individual leaders in the political process has increased, as the centrality of the political group declines.

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.

The volatile Israeli party system, together with several recent political developments, lately brought the idea of holding open leadership primaries to Israel. However, when considering the adoption of open primaries, one must also take into account their potential challenges and dangers.

IDI President Yohanan Plesner says that even after 20 years, the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the Israeli democracy's breaking point. He calls on all peoples and their leaders to develop a joint democratic vision.

On May 14, 2015, the 34th government of the State of Israel—the fourth Netanyahu cabinet—was sworn in. In this article, IDI Researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig presents an overview of the process of forming the government and the profile of its members.

In an op-ed in <em>The Jerusalem Post</em>, IDI President Yohanan Plesner stresses that Israel's adherence to international law is not a source of weakness, but rather one of its greatest strengths.

Admiral Ami Ayalon asserts that the winner of today's wars is the side whose story is perceived as just, and argues that without a diplomatic track, Israel cannot win the war, even if the war is justified and Israel adheres to international law in the face of terrorists who violate it. 

Is the institution of the presidency necessary? Who elects the president? Is the election an open vote or secret ballot? Dr. Ofer Kenig explores the situation in Israel and other parliamentary democracies.

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.

On November 10, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the Israeli prime minister who has served the second longest cumulative term. Dr. Ofer Kenig explores Netanyahu's placement between record-holder David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Shamir.

IDI Vice President Mordechai Kremnitzer and Doron Navot, author of Political Corruption in Israel, discuss whether politicians convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude should be allowed to return to the Knesset.

As the world considers the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israeli public discourse has focused primarily on whether or not Israel should launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. But who has the authority to decide whether a military operation should be conducted? In this article, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and researcher Eyal Tsur explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current division of responsibility regarding this matter, and recommend ways of improving the system.

Following the elections of 2013, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern hails the incoming Knesset as a unique opportunity to change the nature of the State of Israel so that it is both more Jewish and more democratic at the same time. 

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.

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

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

The Knesset is one of the smallest parliaments in the world, in terms of legislators per capita. As a result, the effectiveness of the Israeli parliament is diminished, especially regarding the important task of overseeing the executive.

A set of reforms must be implemented so that Knesset members' supervisory ability over the government will be enhanced.

When legislators exhibit such disdain for the country’s legislative body, is it any wonder the average citizen does too?

Regulation, transparency and enforcement capabilities are crucial steps for lobbying to work.  

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Op-ed

Behind the Scenes of Israel's Ministerial Committee For Legislation

There are ways to transform this powerful committee into one that combines politics with professionalism, instead of being one more arena for the settling of political scores.

The danger of a weak opposition should not be underestimated. This situation harms most of all those populations who are not represented in government, and even harms the functioning of the government itself, which is not subjected to real criticism

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.

A discussion of the principal issues pertaining to campaign financing in Israel, written before the Knesset elections of 2015. 

Yohanan Plesner argues that as Denmark grieves for a terror attack on its soil, Israeli leaders must broadcast "a message of partnership among democracies battling terrorism without sacrificing their democratic values."

What criteria must the caliphate of the Islamic State meet in order to be considered a State under international law? This article presents an analysis of this question by IDI experts on terrorism and democracy.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer reflects on the productivity of the Knesset during the summer of 2008, suggesting that most of its members' energy was invested in dangerous, anti-democratic, disproportionate, offensive, and sometimes almost racist, legislation.

Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, author of an IDI policy paper proposing a spousal registry as a framework for civil unions in Israel, welcomes the reintroduction of this issue to the public agenda but expresses some concern about the formulation of the current bill.

IDI President Yohanan Plesner recommends a change of approach and some practical steps for changing the reality in which the Israeli public repeatedly goes to the polls to elect a new Knesset before the previous Knesset has finished its term.

The demise of the 19th Knesset was hastened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's firing of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. In the article below, IDI researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig discusses the various grounds for firing ministers in the past and how the current case fits into Israeli political practice.

In an op-ed in Yedioth Aharonoth, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern calls on the leaders of each "tribe"—Russian, ultra-Orthodox, settler, and upper class— to take action to eradicate the negative behavior stereotypically associated with their camp.

Nineteen years after the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer explores the background, meaning, and ramifications of this event, taking a hard look at some of the dangers he sees in Israeli society today.

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer argues that by breaching their responsibility to be impartial, the  UN Human Rights Council and its commission for investigating alleged war crimes in Gaza are betraying international law, even if unintentionally.

Dr. Ofer Kenig responds to the initiative to abolish the presidency and emphasizes that such decisions require due consideration and cannot be taken as part of a capricious move that tramples on the democratic rules of the game.

In an op-ed in Makor Rishon, Dr. Ofer Kenig responds to calls to eliminate the institution of the presidency, and explains the value of the presidency in Israel and other parliamentary democracies.

Who elects the president? What are the candidacy requirements? What majority is needed to win the election and how is it obtained? Dr. Ofer Kenig explains some of the basics. 

Is Prof. Dan Shechtman, who formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 presidential race in Israel, any different than traditional candidates for the position? IDI researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig surveys the characteristics of Israel's past presidents and presidential candidates. 

As Israel approaches the election of its 10th president, Dr. Ofer Kenig surveys the results of past presidential elections and asserts that although the role of the Israeli president is largely ceremonial, the race for the position is partisan and political. 

In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie call for reform that will abolish the Police Prosecution Department, leaving the Police to investigate and the Public Prosecution to bring criminal charges.

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, attorney Amir Fuchs explains why he believes the release of convicted terrorists as part of prisoner release deals or  as part of diplomatic negotiations degrades Israel's criminal justice system.

In an op-ed originally published in Haaretz, IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon explains his reservations about the "Referendum Bill" and warns that the concept of referendum is antithetical to the principles of democracy.

Will Shelly Yachimovich manage to succeed where others have failed and maintain her position as chair of the Labor Party for a second term? Dr. Ofer Kenig shares insights on the upcoming primaries for the party leadership.

Dr. Nir Atmor, Dr. Dana Blander, and Assaf Shapira share some preliminary findings on voter turnout and women's representation in the Israeli municipal elections of 2013.

Why is voter participation in local elections in Israel so low? Assaf Shapira explains the reasons behind this phenomenon, discusses its implications, and offers possible remedies.

On the occasion of International Migrants Day and an IDI roundtable on Israeli immigration policy, IDI researcher Adv. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler provides an overview of the treatment of African asylum seekers who have crossed into Israel via its southern border.

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.

The proposed "Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People" has the support of one third of the members of Knesset. In this op-ed, which was originally published in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern, who is deeply committed to the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, warns that the shift from defining Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state" to a "Jewish state with a democratic regime" is not a semantic shift, but a seismic change.  

As the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, marks its birthday, IDI takes the opportunity to consider two aspects about it: its members’ social composition and its relative size.

The impressive increase of women's representation in the Knesset has not translated into similar strides in other political spheres and senior executive positions.

To tackle the crisis of democracy we must restore the public's faith in its governing institutions.

Polling data finds that far more Israelis distrust their leaders today than in 1967.

For Israel's economy to grow, significant investment in building a strong and effective infrastructure for occupational training and reemployment is critical.

A summary of where the law stands regarding alleged wrong doing by the premier, as well as timely suggestions for reform, are in order.

In the upcoming elections, the electoral threshold will be 3.25%, a big leap from the last elections. Will this higher hurdle deter voters from supporting small parties? Will it reduce the share of wasted votes? What impact will it have on the proportional nature of the electoral system?

IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern asserts that there is a conflict of interest between the Attorney General’s two functions—as State Attorney and State Prosecutor—and the office must be split in two. 

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

IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs discusses two indirect threats to human rights in Israel: attacks on the Israeli Supreme Court and attacks against Israeli human rights organizations.

Prof. Tamar Hermann, head of IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys, discusses the findings of the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index, which was submitted to President Shimon Peres on October 6, 2013.

The Knesset’s top priority for 2017 should be to restore the Israeli public’s belief in its political institutions.

Instead of Judaism being what unites Jews in Israel with Jews around the world, our religion has become the main source of conflict.

Prof. Yedidia Stern urges Israel's leaders to stop tiptoeing around the core issues of religion and state in the Knesset election campaign, and to take a clear position on the matter.

The mayor of Ashkelon's announcement following the massacre in a Har Nof synagogue that Arab workers would not be employed in his city was roundly condemned by members of the Knesset. Dr. Amir Fuchs points to the hypocrisy of these condemnations.

On the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that if the annual memorial day for the late prime minister were to be observed as Israeli Democracy Day, Rabin's legacy for the future would be even greater.

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler discusses the challenges to transparency in the budgets of Israel's local authorities, including the need to make budgets accessible, to enable searches within budgets, and to facilitate comparisons between the budgets of different authorities.

An exploration of the existential, social, and economic dimensions of the Shmita year, that calls for bringing together social, moral, cultural, religious and national forces to implement the idea of Shmita in non-agricultural and national contexts in Israel.

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 Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer responds to the possibility that the police will use administrative detention to combat organized crime, much in the manner as it is used to combat terrorism. 

Attorney Talya Steiner warns that a Supreme Court's judgment that struck down an amendment of Israel's anti-infiltration law as unconstitutional points to significant flaws in Israel's process of policy-making.

Most criminal cases in Israel are prosecuted by the Israel Police rather than by the State Prosecutor. Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie call for a division that would make the Police responsible for investigations and the State Prosecutor responsible for indictments and trials.

Prof. Shahar Lifshitz outlines what halakhic authorities and the Knesset can do in order to resolve the issue of get refusal, as discussed at the Second Agunah Summit.

In an op-ed in Maariv, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer calls for an election campaign that focuses not only on foreign policy and Israel's social gap, but on the nature of Israeli identity and the value of Israeli democracy itself.

A summary of a legal opinion on a proposed amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset that was submitted by Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Amir Fuchs to the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs.

Dr. Amir Fuchs discusses the proposal to add an override clause to Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom that would enable the Knesset to bypass the High Court and deal a a severe blow to the main safeguard of human rights and minorities in Israel.

IDI Researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler presents a brief overview of the Israeli High Court of Justice's decision to strike down Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and explores several themes that may be of comparative constitutional interest. 

IDI researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler explains why he believes the Supreme Court should overturn Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Act just as it invalidated its predecessor.

In an article in the Hebrew weekly <em>Makor Rishon</em>, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs argue against the current initiative to pass Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, which they see as divisive and problematic.

As the Knesset prepares to vote on the "Draft Law" designed to regulate the service of ultra-Orthodox men in the Israel Defense Forces, Dr. Haim Zicherman surveys the current situation within Israel's Haredi community.

In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Ofer Kenig warns that while there is nothing wrong with a moderate increase in Israel's electoral threshold, increasing it from 2% to 3.25% in a single step is problematic.

On November 21 2013, Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern appeared before the Shaked Committee and argued that criminal sanctions are not recommended for reaching conscription goals. In an op-ed in Makor Rishon, he explains why.

The first in a series of articles by researchers from IDI's Judaism and democracy projects and Human Rights and Judaism project on the complementary but tense relations between Judaism and democratic values.

The state and its Arab leadership, not only the political leadership, must work together to bring as many Arab citizens as possible into the decision-making echelons.

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, Attorney Amir Fuchs stresses the need to wage a genuine war against racism, in order to preserve the values of Zionism and safeguard the Jewish and democratic state.