What is the problem with the Israeli Elections? And why is it related to its Parliamentary Democracy?
Israeli elections have been taking place for 4 times, and expecting the fifth. For the fourth time, the elections have not formed any stable government nor have half of the population stopped wanting Bibi to retire.
“The Israeli Jewish Democracy” seems very attractive, it has the J word and Democracy in one phrase. But is it logically legit? Democracy, by Wikipedia:
“is a form of government in which people have the authority to choose their governing legislators.”
Wikipedia continues later on defining democracy:
“Cornerstones include freedom of assembly, speech, inclusiveness and equality, consent, voting, right to life and minority right.”
let’s take each one of the cornerstones which needs analyzing:
1- freedom of assembly: have not had any form during closure due to the pandemic in 2020–2021. In fact, gathering was not allowed at all at times.
2- inclusiveness: Israel could look great in Tel Aviv, with transportation and resources infrastructures, but other villages, small cities or even bigger cities struggle every day asking for these basic rights from the government.
3- equality: Israel’s Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, gives every legitimation of the Israeli Arab racism, it in fact supports growing more hate from Jews against Arabs.
A live example of that would be rejecting Arab children’s sue against Carmiel’s school which have not accepted them because they’re arabs, while one of the rejection reasons was: The registrar detailed in his decision,
“even though there was no need for it, that the character of Carmiel is that of a “Jewish city”, and the consideration of preserving its Jewish character can be a proper and dominant consideration within the city’s considerations — based on section 7 of the Nationality Law.”
4- voting: Elections in Israel could look very democratic, as Israelis say every elections: “It’s a democracy holiday”. But the question hides behind the Jerusalemite Arabs who are on the other side of the map, holding Israeli permanent residence, which means they do not have the right to vote, but get to be ruled by that government.
5- minority right: Minorities in Israel do not get the same rights as the majority (Jews). which literally means Israel is a democracy only for its own people, the chosen race.
Parliamentary democracy is a form of representative democracy where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament.
And when we say anarchism, it’s not as bad as governments usually make it sound like. Anarchism, is a movement that is skeptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It calls for the abolition of the state, which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.
Between 1996–2001 Israel has proceeded with semi-parliamentary system, where the prime minister was elected in a general election, with no regard to political affiliation.
And that brings us to the explanation of why elections are failing to make a clear decision on and on:
- A huge population of Israeli residents cannot vote, either for the reason that they are only Permanent Residents, or because they physically are not able to go out their homes to voting polls’ locations. In addition to what has been mentioned before on “Permanent Residents”, the elderly and disabled population has been unable to implement their right to vote because of their physical disability and the government’s disability to make the election accessible.
- The Election system in Israel has proved over time that it’s unable to serve all its citizens equally, Right-wing parties aim on legislating laws that work in ways against minorities (Local Arabs, or African Immigrants etc..), and their personal interests.
- The Arab citizens of Israel (those who hold the Israeli citizenship not a permanent residence which is about 20% of the whole Israeli population) parties’ legitimation has never existed really, they were always out of the Coalition, and never have had the trust of other parties, mostly the right-wings.
- Netanyahu’s governments and other previous ones strengthened the idea of right of Settlements’ existence in the West Bank, in addition to other illegal actions (by the International Law) the governments of Israel have committed. And weakened the Arab refugees right of return, which have let the Arab population in Israel with zero trust in their government or their leaders, therefore, they’re less likely to vote.
How would a more democratic system work better for high diverse community like Israel:
- Direct democracy would gain the Arab population and other minorities’ trust, therefore, more people would vote.
- Digitalizing elections and voting systems could bring even more votes, by bringing the election into an accessible app available for all residents.
- Pure democracy could then help bringing down racist laws like the Israeli National Basic Law, and automatically other laws which could work against minorities.
- Perfect democracy would turn down any fascists who work against other races or minorities claiming titles to reject reality by logic. Which reminds me of a phrase: “If you can convince people that freedom is injustice, they will then believe that slavery is freedom.”, so close to what the Israelis claim as a “humanitarian act” to give Palestinians the right to live in their “Home Land”, or give them rights to vote. Or even having the Israeli citizens ask if it’s legit to have Arab parties forming part of the Israeli Coalition.
- Popular Referendums implemented in Direct democracy, referendums which requires signatures from diverse communities on valid petitions empowered by referendum to protect minority interests.
- Citizen-Initiated referendum (initiative), empowers the general public to propose specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government. And is the best solution for a high diverse population which have contradictory views, or simply the same needs with different ideological views.
The results of last 4 failing elections:
We can clearly see that the Left has been weakened through out the way, while other right parties have been strengthened due to the need to find an alternative to Netanyahu, which leaves the Israeli citizens (mostly right-wing ideology) with no option other than old leader who they don’t even trust for working for Netanyahu throughout the years. That’s why all parties have gone against him, claiming Israel needs a change, while he, on the other side, has the Orthodox Jewish parties support, with no right-wing support.
In addition to the international pandemic and its affects on our daily, political and financial issues, the Israeli political consensus relies on multiple factors:
A: The Zionist ideology:
The Israeli public virtual agreement is that all of Israel has been promised by God for the chosen people, and Arabs or other Israeli gentiles are level B in citizenship wise, that’s why Arab pupils are not allowed to private schools in Carmiel, or in Affula’s municipality park.
This ideology also leads to different gaps between the Jewish royal people and the gentiles. It raises rejection rate of apartment rentals for gentiles, and drops other Arab participation in the Israeli community such as employment, which indeed is nothing compared to Hitler’s policy.
B: The Arabs have occupied Israel long before Israel occupied Palestine:
Many of the Israeli right-wing voters rely on the so called “Muslim Conquest of the Levant” which was between Byzantine Empire and Rashidun Caliphate during the 7th century, which honestly is not really relevant to today’s citizens of Israel. The Israeli Arab population includes: Muslims, Druze and Christians (excluding the Arab Jew population that came from Arab countries but deny their Arab identity), which obviously is more than a Muslim Caliphate.
C: Palestinian Refugees do not have the right to return to their homes, but any Jew from anywhere in the world can easily make Aliya:
Israeli governments have proved through the generations that Israel is clearly against the right of return for the Palestinians in diaspora and in refugee camps around the world and in Israel and the West Bank.
With that being said, Israel is open to any Jewish citizen of any country of the world to make Aliya and join the Israeli community and get the citizenship, unlike any Arab citizen who was left or was forced to leave Israel during the war.
D: Arab authority would have destroyed the Jewish people:
The Israeli consensus concentrates on the disability of other Arab-World leaders, and brings it to the daily political discussions, claiming an Arab authority (meaning Arabs in a coalition) would destroy the Jewish community in Israel. However, Israel continues to take pride over the fact that it’s the only Middle Eastern country that has an LGBT community, but do they have LGBT rights?
I struggle seeing the difference between an Arab or Jewish authority, they both are racist or skeptical at times, and they both have a religious side that always pulls them down in terms of modernizations.
E: Building settlements is a Bible oriented and Zionist mission:
Manachem Begin said on Dec 1967:
“We are not just staying in the liberated territories, we are settling and fortifying ourselves in all the areas and positions our army has reached on the day of the ceasefire.”
Settlers on the other hand, say it’s their duty to build and expand settlements as the Jewish people, Judea and Samaria is all Jewish and shall belong to the Jews.
Israel’s path at the meantime is for a Jewish religious country rather than democratic, which leaves the Non-Jew and Non-religious communities in Israel untitled and unrepresented politically, leading to national injustice and racism. And the most practical way to overcome the high diversity is to implement some or all direct democracy principles.
Finally, I hope I have been helpful and informational enough, on a Passover eve with no proper bread, as it’s generally unacceptable to sell bread on Passover. So democratic :)
Wikipedia, Direct democracy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy
Wikipedia, Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Law:_Israel_as_the_Nation-State_of_the_Jewish_People
Wikipedia, Parliamentary Republic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_republic
Wikipedia, Democracy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy
Wikipedia, Parliamentary System: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_system
Wikipedia, Anarchism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism