The failing government system is an existential threat to Israel, influencing
everything from national security to the economy, former Mossad chief and Yesh
Sikuy director Meir Dagan said at a press conference in Tel Aviv on
“When the government has to make decisions on war and peace, it
needs wide public support and not to be a captive of sectorial compromises,”
Dagan said, in response to a question as to whether changing the government
system would influence decisions on attacking Iran.
He spoke at a press
conference of his Yesh Sikuy organization, which seeks to change the system of
government in Israel, together with the Citizen Empowerment Center – Israel and
Save Israeli Democracy. The three NGOs presented a joint vision for a new
The joint outline includes raising the election threshold from
two to four percent, and having 60 MKs be elected regionally. The regions would
be determined by the Interior Ministry, and voters would only put one slip in
the ballot box – which would count for both the regional and national
In addition, the NGOs call for enabling prime minister to veto any
bill, a power that can only be canceled by a vote of 61 MKs. The number of
ministers must be no less than eight and no more than 16, and they cannot serve
simultaneously as ministers and MKs.
“The government needs to work
towards goals that serve the whole public. As a result of the coalition’s
structure, sectorial parties are able to move the national agenda in intolerable
directions, endangering Israeli democracy,” Dagan said.
The former Mossad
chief mocked the “so-called successful political games” that the current
government has played. He lamented the “absurdity” that an issue with wide
public consensus, like replacing the “Tal Law” with one that would increase
equality in the burden of service, could not be dealt with due to political
According to Dagan, the political system no longer serves
values and morals, dealing only with parties that represent small groups in
society. “I know it sounds bombastic, but over time, if we continue to sanctify
sectorial needs, the gaps in society and the problems Israel deals with will
make our chance of survival very small,” he added.
Prof. Uriel Reichman,
president of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and a former Shinui and
Kadima MK, said that he and Israel Democracy Institute head Dr.
Carmon began working on the issue of changing the system of government over 25
years ago and had many “personal differences.”
“We reached the conclusion
that we can bridge our differences in opinion when dealing with the national
interest,” Reichman said.
“This example, of putting the national interest
first, must be applied in political frameworks.”
According to Reichman,
Israel’s political leadership “deals in tricks” instead being faithful to
parties and the public. The ideal coalition would consist of two parties, and
politics would be centered around two large “axis” parties, he
“The government system in Israel needs to be saved,” Carmon said.
“Our political culture accepts [problems] and ignores them. Things happen, but
they move on.
We are off the rails on which the parliamentary democracy
Carmon lamented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
“dependency on and captivity by sectorial, minority parties,” leading him to
“compromise the national interest.” As such, “the government only cares about
political survival and not the reasons we voted for them. This decreases the
public’s faith in government,” he added.
He also pointed out that, in the
current coalition, only Likud MKs were democratically elected within their
party, while the other 37, from Yisrael Beytenu, Shas, United Torah Judaism,
Independence and Habayit Hayehudi, were not.
Dagan called on the public
to unite, as did the three NGOs, to help bring about change.
echoed the call, saying that “if the public does not join the battle and put
pressure on the government, I am concerned this will not happen.”
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders