Elections and Parties

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Articles

Op-ed

Who Wins the Israeli Election? That Depends on How You Count the Votes

An analysis of the different patterns of alliances, unions, and mergers between political parties in Israel, which was originally published in Hebrew in IDI's online "Parliament" journal.

Article

District Elections in Israel: Pro and Con

A broad survey of the various models of district elections that could be adopted in Israel, which includes a comparative international perspective and explores the factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding to adopt such a system in Israel.

Op-ed

What Just Happened? The 2016 U.S. Elections

On Monday, February 1, 2016, the long and complex process in which the two major American parties choose their candidates for president began in Iowa. One of those two candidates will be the 45th President of the United States. What exactly are the presidential primaries? What makes them so long and complicated? What is their timetable and who, for now, are the main candidates? 

Op-ed

The 2015 Elections and Israeli Governance

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed, Yohanan Plesner notes that the 2015 Knesset election demonstrates that structural changes matter, and argues that further stability can be fostered by automatically making the head of the largest party prime minister.

Article

Who Doesn’t Vote in the Israeli Knesset Elections?

What has contributed to the decline in voter turnout in Israel? This article explores possible causes and presents a profile of the non-voters in the 2013 Knesset elections. The findings that it reports raise concerns about the value of equality in political participation in Israel.

Article

Flash in the Pan Parties in Israel

"Flash in the pan" parties suddenly spring up, run for Knesset with varying degrees of success, and disappear from the political map soon after. This article discusses this phenomenon in Israel in the past and in the context of the 2015 elections.

Op-ed

The Intra-Party Democracy Index 2015

The findings of the Party Democracy Index, a tool designed to evaluate the level of democracy within political parties, which was designed by IDI's political reform research team. The findings have been released in advance of the 2015 Knesset elections.

Article

The 2015 Knesset Elections: Facts and Figures

The statistics and graphs below pertain to the upcoming Knesset elections, which will be held on March 17, 2015. The data were collected and analyzed by Dr. Ofer Kenig of IDI's Political Reform project.

Op-ed

Yair Lapid in a Splinter Party Arena

Israeli journalist Yair Lapid's announced intention to enter politics sparked both excitement and speculation as to whether he planned to start his own party or to join one of the existing parties. While IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon applauds the entrance of talented, committed people into politics, he stresses the need for them to join one of the large, existing parties in order to stabilize the political system. 

Op-ed

Time for More Women in the Israeli Cabinet

IDI Researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig surveys the percentage of women in the Israeli cabinet since the founding of the State and calls for a change for the better.

Op-ed

Israel's Political Parties: Strengthen the Party, not the Cult of Personality

Prof. Gideon Rahat, Director of Research of IDI's Political Reform project, recommends several changes that can help strengthen Israel's political parties and restore them to reasonable performance.

Elections in the Shadow of War (2009)

On December 27th, 2008, just weeks before the scheduled general elections, the IDF launched a large scale military operation in the Gaza Strip. Should elections be postponed because of war or should they be held as scheduled? IDI researcher Dr. Dana Blander discusses this question from an historical-legal perspective, drawing on Israeli historical precedents and the experiences of other democracies.

Op-ed

Brushing Off the Dust

In an article written before the elections for the 19th Knesset, IDI researchers Ofer Kenig and Nir Atmor focus on five elements of Israel’s political system that they believe are in dire need of change.  

Op-ed

America: Land of Endless Voting Opportunities?

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

Article

Race to the Top

Everything you wanted to know about the Labor Party primaries but didn't know who to ask.

Intra-Party Politics

Party primaries, though a vital component of the Israeli electoral system, receive little attention from the media and the voting public. In an interview originally published prior to the Israeli general elections in 2006, Dr. Gideon Rahat of the Political Science Department at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, today a Senior Researcher at IDI, discusses the candidate selection process within Israel's political parties and explores the pros and cons of local and international models.

Op-ed

The Trump Phenomenon: Israeli Politics in the 'Age of Me'

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.

Op-ed

Are Open Primaries the Answer?

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.

Op-ed

Expand Israeli Absentee Voting Rights

In this op-ed, which first appeared on the Times of Israel, IDI's Ofer Kenig argues that it is time to cautiously expand the right of absentee voting to more Israelis.

Article

The Party Democracy Index 2013

The findings of the Party Democracy Index, a new tool designed to evaluate the level of democracy within political parties, which was designed by IDI's political reform research team and released in advance of the 2013 Knesset elections.

Article

The Yisrael Beiteinu–Likud Split: Background and Consequences

Following the announcement of the dissolution of the partnership between Yisrael Beiteinu and the Likud, IDI researcher Assaf Shapira explores the implications of Knesset faction splits. 

Op-ed

How Should the President of Israel be Chosen?

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.

Op-ed

Coalition Building in Israel: A Guide for the Perplexed

In an article specially written for the IDI website, Dr. Ofer Kenig explains the basic principles of the process of coalition building, sharing facts, figures, and comparative data.

Op-ed

Between Shamir and Ben-Gurion

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.

Op-ed

A Coalition of Hope

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. 

Op-ed

The Future of Israel’s Political Parties is on Facebook

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.

Article

Jerusalem Report: Welcome to 21st Century Politics

Poorly funded and under threat from personalization and social media, political parties are in decline.

Article

The Knesset at Age 69: Still Struggling for the Public's Trust

While members of Knesset represent Israel's diverse society, they're still seen as self-interested and ineffectual by the public.

Press Release

IDI Ahead of the Vote on the V-15 Bill:

‘The bill sets an extremist and dim precedent, which casts a shadow of harsh limitations on freedom of expression’

Article

Campaign Financing in Israel

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

Op-ed

Israel's Central Elections Committee: Political Cabal or Independent Agency?

IDI Researcher Dr. Dana Blander discusses the role of Israel's Central Election Committee and asserts that change is needed in its structure, composition, and working methods.

Op-ed

23 Knesset Seats is Not a Victory

In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Yehoshua Oz, IDI's Director of International Communications, argues that pundits eager to crown a victor in the 2015 elections have lost sight of the fact that winning one-fifth of the Knesset seats is no victory.

Op-ed

How to Prevent the Recurrence of Early Knesset Elections

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.

Article

The Firing of Ministers in Israel: A Historical Overview

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.

Article

The Many Ways to Dissolve the Knesset

Dr. Dana Blander explains the different ways in which the Knesset can be dissolved and discusses the relationship between these mechanisms and government stability in a parliamentary system. 

Op-ed

Abolish the Presidency? Certainly Not This Way

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.

Op-ed

Who Needs a President Anyway?

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.

Article

The Presidential Elections: The Rules of the Game

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. 

Op-ed

The Israeli Presidency: Unnecessary Institution or Vital Symbol?

As the 2014 presidential election draws near, once again there have been calls to do away with the institution of the presidency. Is the President of Israel an unnecessary position or a vital symbol? IDI researcher Dr. Dana Blander analyzes the two sides of this question.

Op-ed

Israeli Public Opinion on the President and the Presidential Elections

As the elections for the tenth President of Israel near, IDI researcher Ella Heller of the Guttman Center for Surveys presents an analysis of Israeli public opinion regarding the desired professional background for the next president of Israel, and how the elections should be conducted.

Article

The Presidential Elections: A Political Race for a Ceremonial Position?

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. 

Op-ed

The Presidency: The “Additional Soul” of Israeli Democracy

Former Speaker of the Knesset MK Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin shares his views on the importance of the institution of the Israeli presidency, as part of an exclusive IDI series of articles by the presidential candidates of 2014.

Op-ed

The Presidency in Israel as a Unique Challenge

An article by Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman, which was written as part of an IDI project in which the candidates for President of Israel share their views on the presidency and discuss what they would bring to the job.

Op-ed

A Socially-Oriented President

MK Meir Sheetrit presents his views on the institution of the Israeli president and describes what he would bring to the job, in the first of a series of articles by the presidential candidates of 2014. 

Article

Remembering Ariel Sharon (1928–2014)

Dr. Ofer Kenig presents some of the milestones in the career of Ariel Sharon, the 11th Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Article

The Labor Primaries: Will Shelly Yachimovich Break the Losing Streak?

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.

Article

The Israeli Municipal Elections 2013: Some Preliminary Findings

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.

Policy Statement

A Professional Assessment of the Governance Bills

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.

Op-ed

Status of Women in Israeli Politics: The Good, The Bad and The Road to Full Equality

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

Op-ed

Turning Back the Tide

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

Op-ed

Disqualifying Zoabi: Bad for Security and Bad for Democracy

As the Central Elections Committee begins to debate disqualifying MK Hanin Zoabi and others from running for Knesset, IDI Senior Fellow Ami Ayalon writes that as distasteful as some of her words may be, banning Zoabi from running would be a victory for Israel's detractors.

Article

The Electoral Threshold, Wasted Votes, and Proportionality

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?

Article

The Leading Candidate for President: "I Don't Know"

Two months before the elections for president of Israel, who does the Israeli public see as the most suitable candidate for the job? Find out in this mini-survey from IDI's Guttman Center.

Op-ed

Only a Constitution will Ensure Good Governance in Israel

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

Article

Nothing is Known Yet: Public Opinion on the Israeli Presidential Race

Although the presidential race is heating up, the public does not seem to be particularly interested in it. What do Israeli citizens know about the race? Who is their candidate of choice? Find out in this mini-survey by the Guttman Center for Surveys.

Article

The Israeli Democracy Index: A Periodic Check-Up

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.

Op-ed

Gotta Have Faith: The Knesset's Top Priority for 2017

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

Article

2015 Knesset Elections Media Coverage

Press Release

IDI President Responds to Advancement of V-15 Bill

Today, the V-15 bill advanced to the Knesset, with a vote expected as early as later this week.

Op-ed

The Elephant in the Room: Relations between Religion and State in Israel

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.

Op-ed

The Struggle against Government Corruption

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.

Op-ed

Sir Isaac Newton and the New Haredim

Prof. Yedidia Stern shares thoughts on the connection between failure of the ultra-Orthodox "Tov" party in the local elections, the Haredi draft bill being debated by the Shaked Committee, and Newton's laws of motion.

Op-ed

Democracy: The Key Election Issue

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.

Op-ed

The Electoral Threshold: Why the Rush?

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.