Israeli political system

Publications Regarding Israeli political system

Articles

Op-ed

Without Trust, There Can Be No Compliance​

The Israeli public deserves leadership that isn't weighed down by a track record of incoherent instructions, selective enforcement, and politicians’ own failure to comply

Article

Who Will Investigate the Coronavirus Crisis?

There have been calls to investigate the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis – but who should do the investigating?

Op-ed

Israel’s Cease-Fire Government Should Promote Healing, Not Division

Netanyahu and Gantz could use their unity government to put in place a 'democratic ceasefire' and speed Israel’s economic recovery rather than entrenching political deadlock.

Press Release

IDI Supports Enacting the “Norwegian Law”

Knesset members should be available for parliamentary legislation and oversight

Article

Israel’s 35th Government: A Portrait

After 18 months of political deadlock, Israel’s 35th government was sworn in - and in many ways it's quite unique.

Op-ed

No Justification Whatsoever

The establishment of the Netanyahu-Gantz government required many compromises.That being said, there is absolutely no way to justify the extravagant size of the new government

Op-ed

Don’t Call It a Comeback

In mature democracies, parliaments are regaining their relevance in the coronavirus era.

Op-ed

Sanity Prevails: 11 to 0

Israel's High Court handed down a unanimous decision - and the public saw for themselves that there was no devious plot to undermine the separation of powers.

Israeli Voice Index

Over Half of Jewish Israelis Support Annexation

The Israeli Voice Index for April 2020, found that 52% of Jewish Israelis support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated policy of extending Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, however only 32% believes Israel will move forward with this in the coming year.

 

Op-ed

Moment of Truth for Judicial Restraint

Many Israelis attribute a left-wing bias to the Supreme Court and accuse it of extreme activism, but the hearings that were broadcast live highlight the vast gulf between the Court's image and the reality

Article

The Alternative Government

IDI researchers testified before the Knesset's Special Committee: Personal and retroactive changes should not be made to legislation regarding the Prime Minister's legal status

Op-ed

Two Hedgehogs and a Hydra

This is a familiar plague: rewriting the game rules of democracy to suit changing political circumstances has become the norm in Israel.

Op-ed

Will the Coronavirus Defeat the Populism Epidemic?

The coronavirus is an international threat but will it stem the growth of populism around the world?

Op-ed

A Jumbo-Size Government? Now? Really?

Reports of a 30 to 34 minister cabinet in the works beg for a public outcry: Costly, inefficient and divisive is not what we need today.

Op-ed

What Should we be Studying in Times of Corona?

We should take advantage of the opportunity that the coronavirus presents to improve our children's education.

Op-ed

Don’t Manage a Crisis under Threat of Investigation

Calls for the establishment of a state commission of inquiry the day after the corona, in the midst of the crisis, can lead decision-makers to make decisions based on wrong considerations

Op-ed

Politics in a Time of Corona

Israel finds itself in an unprecedented political situation at a time it must face a worldwide pandemic.

Article

Prime Minister on Trial - Explainer

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trial in the Jerusalem District Court is to begin on March 17th. Dr. Amir Fuchs, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute provides responses to key questions as to what this process will look like.

Israeli Voice Index

5 days to the Election: Jewish Israelis are Paying Less Attention

5 days to the Elections: Jewish Israelis are Paying Less Attention. A Majority of Arab Israelis are Following with the Same or Increased Interest. 30% of the Public Predicts a Fourth Election.

Op-ed

Getting Stay-at-Home Potential Voters to the Polls for Israeli Elections

Rather than “packaging” voting as a political, civic and moral obligation, we should try instead to get these potential voters to think about the personal benefits to be gained by going to the polls.

Op-ed

Third Time's a Charm?

With two weeks to go, Yohanan Plesner presents the key issues to look out for in Israel's unprecedented third election and what – if anything – will determine if a stable government will finally be formed.

Press Release

Can Israel Recognize a Palestinian State?

The January Israeli Voice Index reveals that more Israelis support Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state than those who oppose it.

Israeli Voice Index

Israelis Believe Netanyahu's Investigations Will have the Greatest Impact on the Vote

January's Israeli Voice Index found 32% of Israelis believe Netanyahu's investigations will be the issue with the greatest impact on voters in the upcoming Knesset elections.

Article

Can the “Deal of the Century” be Implemented Under a Transitional Government?

What are the legal barriers standing in the way of the current government implementing the U.S.'s “Deal of the Century” peace plan?

Article

Disqualification of Knesset Lists and Candidates: Q&A

Disqualifying candidates and lists for the Knesset violates one of the most fundamental democratic rights, the right to vote and to be elected. Therefore, it must be done with the utmost care, judgment and objectivity. Who can reject candidates and lists for the Knesset, and on what is the criteria? IDI experts answer these questions.

Op-ed

Where Have the Parties Gone?

Political parties no longer fulfill the goals for which they were intended, rather they have become technical structures that are focused on the ranking of the candidates on their Knesset lists.

Op-ed

Rabbis in Politics—A Disaster for Both

Rabbis are not necessarily any better or worse than other politicians.

Op-ed

A Vote of Confidence in the Rule of Law

Regardless of the decision regardin PM Netanyahu's request for immunity - the debate will revolve around the more important question: the status of the rule of law in Israel

Op-ed

Only the Voters can Put a Prime Minister Out to Pasture

After lengthy deliberation, the attorney-general, who holds the statutory authority to file charges against him, decided to indict Netanyahu.

Press Release

Populism and its Implications for Democracies: Summary

International Experts Gather at IDI to Debate Populism and its Implications for Democracies as Israeli Electoral Deadlock Continues

Op-ed

Justice in the Courtroom, Not in the Streets

Our level-headed, intelligent, rational prime minister has lost his good judgment and is inciting against some of the most important institutions of state

Israeli Voice Index

After Indictment - 59% of Israelis Think Netanyahu Should Step Aside

The November 2019 Israeli Voice Index finds that 35% of Israelis think PM Netanyahu should resign and stand trial – of the Likud voters - 37% agree

Op-ed

Some are Guilty, but All Are Responsible

When the PM smeared Arab Knesset members, those 'allies' who urged us to go and vote had a responsibility to protest. They didn't.

Op-ed

Can a Minority Government End the Deadlock in Israel?

Assaf Shapira argues that if the choice is between a minority government and another round of elections, the former is the better option.

Israeli Voice Index

Majority of Israelis Support their Parties Joining a Blue and White Coalition

October 2019 Israeli Voice Index revealed a decline in Israelis’ assessment of President Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security. The survey also found that 62% of Israelis support the parties they voted for in the last elections joining a Blue and White led coalition.

Op-ed

Despite The Election Tumult, Israeli Democracy Dodged A Bullet

Coalition negotiations continue and Israel does not yet have a government - but one thing is certain - Israeli democracy dodged a bullet.

Op-ed

A Pyrrhic Victory

The results speak for themselves. Shas, headed by Arye Deri, registered a resounding success with traditional voters. But is this a long term victory?

Op-ed

Democracy: Rule of the People?

The recent wave of populism forces us to sharpen our understanding of the literal meaning of 'democracy' and 'the rule of the people' as well as the accepted definition of liberal democracy

Israeli Voice Index

Two Weeks to Election Day: IDI Poll Reveals Jewish Israelis are in Favor of a Unity Government

The August 2019 Israeli Voice Index found that Jewish Israelis show a strong preference for a unity government while Arab Israelis prefer a center-left wing government led by Gantz and that over the past five months there has been a steady decline in the public’s optimism about the future of Israel’s democracy and security

Op-ed

Perceptions on Citizenship among Ultra-Orthodox Israelis

Despite the fact that the State of Israel and its central institutions are essentially secular and reflect a Zionist self-image, according to data from the 2016 Democracy Index only two-thirds (64%) of ultra-Orthodox Israelis report having a strong sense of belonging to the state. 

Article

BB > BG

On July 19th 2019, Netanyahu’s total days in office as Israel’s prime minister equals Ben-Gurion’s and on July 20th he will hold the title of the Israeli prime minister with the longest term in office. This also will make him the third most 'veteran' leader among the OECD countries. 

 

Op-ed

The Absurdity of Campaign Financing in Israel

Why should parties be allowed to use state funding for ongoing expenses to cover the debts accrued during political campaigns?

Op-ed

Toward Tyranny of the Majority

Granting the government additional power, which will enable overriding Basic Laws in simple legislation must not be allowed, lest the defense of basic civil rights in Israel are compromised

Op-ed

Has The Era of the Primaries Come to an End?

Democracy is at risk when the responsiveness between the public and its elected representatives is severed. Without accountability, political extremism and populism will become more prevalent.

Op-ed

A Lethal Virus

"If indeed a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee was swayed by bribes, this constitutes the deepest possible subversion of the system and its legitimacy".

Op-ed

The Illusion of Political Stability

Despite a solid decade with the same prime minister, other cabinet posts have switched hands at alarming rates.

Op-ed

The Constitutional Tug of War in the Outgoing Coalition

The 20th Knesset was the most injurious of all with regard to democratic values, freedom of expression, gatekeeping and, above all, minority rights. In the next government we can only hope that someone will champion liberal center-right values to continue to protect our democracy. 

Op-ed

Israeli Politics Fractured: The System Needs Fixing

It is commonly accepted that in order to defeat Netanyahu, the political parties in the center and on the Left must unite and present a single and clear alternative. However, under the current system, this claim is simply not true.

Op-ed

Keep Politics Out of Corruption!

Supporters of this government show increasing tolerance for graft, and this is a red flag for the rule of law in Israel.

Article

Beyond the Veil of Ignorance

One fact is clear: the moment the attorney-general announces his decision, half of the public will reject it, to the point of accusing him of serving political interests and not really seeking the truth.

Article

Local Government and Local Elections: Time to Move Away from Centralized Thinking

Israel’s system of local elections has been in place since the 1970s - but is it optimal? Prof. Gideon Rahat proposes reform to enhance the compatibility of the system to the characteristics and needs of different localities.

Op-ed

Why Local Elections Matter

"While Israeli national politics get most of the coverage, it is the local level that in many cases has the greatest impact on Israeli lives." Read Yohanan Plesner's op-ed on the upcoming municipal elections and why electoral reform is required, both on the local and national level.

Press Release

Is It a Very Scary Time for Young Men?

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University finds that: 44% of Jewish and Arab Israelis agree with President Trump’s statement that “It’s a very scary time for young men” – the percentage among men who agreed was significantly higher than that among women.

Article

Meet the Next Generation of IDI Leaders

Guaranteeing an independent Supreme Court. Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into the IDF. Boosting participation of Arab women in the workforce. Improving the ease of doing business in Israel. These are some of the challenges facing IDI’s new cadre of program and center directors.

Op-ed

Strengthening Jewish Peoplehood In The Diaspora — But Not In Israel

In the bill’s final wording, the state only commits itself to act within the Diaspora to strengthen the ties of Jewish peoplehood – as if actions taken inside the Jewish state, like the reneged-upon Western Wall compromise, have no bearing on the rest of the Jewish world.

Op-ed

A Misconstrued Perception of Who the "Bad Guys" Are

Behavioral ethics, a growing area within psychology and management literature, demonstrates that an individual’s unethical behavior is demonstrated through self-deception.

Press Release

On Political Appointments of Legal Advisers in Government Ministries

The Israel Democracy Institute ahead of the Knesset Constitution Committee debate on political appointments of legal advisers in government ministries: "A blow to the civil service ethos; an opening for potential corruption, forsakes public interest".

Press Release

Israelis Support Moving the Embassy to Jerusalem

61% of the Jewish and Arab public believes that it is very likely that moving the American embassy to Jerusalem for Israel’s 70th Independence Day, will ignite an outbreak of violence. Nevertheless, 69% of the Jewish public think that even in light of the expectation of violence, Israel should not ask the Americans to postpone the move

Press Release

A Democracy in Flux

President Reuven Rivlin, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked,Leader of the Israeli Labor Party Avi Gabbai and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan relate to tensions surrounding the prime minister's investigations and the coalition crisis at a special conference held last night with Makor Rishon

Op-ed

A Storm in a Teacup

Statesmanship or lack thereof has been in the background of a long list of scandals and incidents that have rocked Israeli politics in recent years

Article

Jerusalem Report: Welcome to 21st Century Politics

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

Op-ed

Israel Exemplifies Rise of Personalized Politics

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

New Record! Netanyahu Now Longest Continuously Serving Israeli Prime Minister

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. 

IDI Scholars’ Statement Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Discussion on V-15 Bill

It is important to require transparency, not to limit contributions, and to establish an effective and equal process of oversight

Press Release

IDI Scholars in Favor of Bill that would Increase Funding for Parties that Hold Primaries to Select their MKs

"The law in Israel has a double-standard and discriminates against parties with democratic systems that enable the wider public to take an active role in politics"

Op-ed

The Cabinet in (com)Motion

May 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the fourth Netanyahu government. According to IDI researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig, "it is safe to say this cabinet has broken a record for internal instability."

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.

Press Release

The Israel Democracy Institute to Knesset Ministers: "Support Bill to Shorten Time Allotted For Forming A Government"

Ahead of today's meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) called for supporting a bill that will shorten the length of time allotted to form a governmnet after an election. 

Op-ed

Criteria for Evaluating the Success of the Israeli Attorney General

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.

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 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

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

Heart vs. Head: The Case of Hanin Zoabi

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Admiral Ami Ayalon argue that while the heart has difficulty defending MK Hanin Zoabi's freedom of expression, the head demands that we object to the decision to remove her from parliamentary activity for six months.

Op-ed

A Red Alert for Israeli Democracy

In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, IDI President Yohanan Plesner warns of the dangers of racism, incitement, and stifling of free speech and asserts that it is essential to internalize a substantive democratic culture. 

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. 

Press Release

IDI's Prof. Gideon Rahat Responds to the Proposed "Largest Party" Bill

Head of IDI's Political Reform project responds to reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu is planning to promote legislation that would automatically give the head of the largest Knesset party the right to form the government.

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.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Referendum—Changing the Rules of the Game of Israeli Democracy

Dr. Dana Blander draws on the findings of Israeli public opinion polls and explores some of the ramifications of the new Basic Law: Referendum, a law that establishes a system in which every citizen is entitled to participate in historic decisions on withdrawal from territory.

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

No to the Separation of Religion and State in Israel

Should the American model of separation of church and state be applied to Israel? In an article in <em>The Jewish Week</em>, IDI's Yair Sheleg argues that Israel needs a unique model.

Op-ed

The High Holidays: A Personal and National Time

Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern shares thoughts on the Hebrew calendar, which contributes to Jewish unity and preserves the Jewish people as a single national and cultural unit.  

Article

The Governance Bill: Pros and Cons

A video in which IDI researchers discuss some of the pros and cons of the Governance Bill being considered by the Knesset. 

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

Do We Really Want Big-Tent Parties?

In an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post, IDI Director of International Communications Yehoshua Oz argues that a central group of larger parties is needed instead of the small parties that have inundated Israeli politics over the last two decades, in order to provide stability and avoid the need for coalitions of many small parties, each with their own special-interest demands.

Op-ed

The Likud-Beiteinu Merger: A Harbinger of Political Change

In an op-ed originally published in Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon welcomes the merger of the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, which he sees as an important milestone in a long, necessary process of repairing Israel's political system.

Op-ed

The Finest or Worst Hour of Israeli Politics?

The nocturnal formation of a new coalition, just as legislation to dissolve the Knesset was about to be passed, left many wondering if this was Israeli politics at its best or at its worst. Dr. Dana Blander explores both sides of this episode, which is likely to redefine what is forbidden, permitted, and worthwhile in Israeli politics.

IDI Experts: New Coalition Presents Historic Opportunities but also Dangers

IDI experts respond to the coalition deal that brought Kadima into the government just as the call for new elections was being finalized.

Op-ed

The Primary System in Israel: A Balance Sheet

The frequent criticism of the Israeli primary system by politicians, the media, and academics often creates the impression that the system should be retired and replaced by a new one. In the article below, which was written prior to the Kadima primaries in March 2012, IDI Researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig surveys the arguments against primaries, analyzes the validity of the criticisms, and explores ways of addressing the weak points of the system.

Article

The Israeli Voters Have Spoken

A survey conducted in April 2011 by IDI’s Guttman Center and the Dahaf Institute on behalf of the Save Israeli Democracy NGO reveals that Israeli voters are fed up with political parties and Knesset members, but are willing to support initiatives that will change the situation.

Article

One on One: "As Great a Threat as Iran"

An interview in which IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon discusses the Institute's achievements, his views on the government and its size, and the connection between his expertise on Nazi Germany and his research on democracy. 

Article

Who Presides over the Knesset? On the Role of the Speaker of the Knesset

IDI Researcher Dr. Dana Blander examines the statutory and customary roles of the Speaker of the Knesset and considers whether this is a symbolic job or one that has real influence on the operations of the Knesset. In addition, she compares the powers and functions of the Knesset Speaker with the corresponding roles in Great Britain and Australia.

Op-ed

Lieberman: An Alternative to Israel's "Classic Right"?

Mr. Shmulik Nili explains how Avigdor Lieberman is gradually being identified as an important national, political alternative. According to Nili, Lieberman has blurred his position on the traditional Right-Left political spectrum by acknowledging the legitimacy of a Palestinian state, addressing the flaws in Israel's political configuration and more. 

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

Arab Politics in Israel: Where are they Headed?

The real story of the April 2019 elections took place outside the polling booth. In the Arab sector, the Movement to Boycott the Knesset Elections, a grassroots group based on Arab young adults and university students, working on the social networks with a shoestring budget, conducted an effective campaign with a simple and catchy slogan: “Boycott: The People’s Will.” This message stood in utter contradiction to the motto of the elections in 2015: “The Joint List: The People’s Will.”

Op-ed

The Voice that Doesn’t Count 

One of the main explanations for the dramatic decline in voter turnout in the Arab Israeli sector in the last elections (49%, versus 63% in the 2015 elections) is the sense that the voice of Israeli Arabs — is a voice that doesn’t count.

Op-ed

Two Democracies for Two Peoples

Israeli society is becoming increasingly polarized with each group holding a very different view of democracy and the State of Israel

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Research reel

How to battle government corruption?

In recent years we have seen one Prime Minister, several ministers and numerous mayors charged and convicted on corruption. But most people enter politics for idealistic reasons and with good intentions. So what went wrong? 

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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.

Press Release

The Israel Democracy Institute criticizes decision to reduce search committees for public service employees from 5 to 3 and says discussions of allowing additional political appointees ‘will harm the professional ethos of the public service’

IDI President Yohanan Plesner said of this latest development: “While one hand in the government is taking significant steps to diminish regulation and improve human resources in the public service, the other hand is harming these efforts.