'The real problem with reform'

March 5, 2009 10:30
2 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson's colleague at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, political science professor Dr. Peter Medding, is more cynical as to whether electoral reform could ever pass through the Knesset. "Simply [put], those who have to vote to change the system are those who are going to lose if they change the system. The smaller parties would be wiped out," he explained. The only time the Knesset ever found a majority in favor of reform, he said, was when Binyamin Netanyahu bolted from his party to vote in favor of the direct election of prime ministers - a decision that might have been influenced by personal considerations. "I think the reform bill is going to get buried because of the hurdle it must cross - finding a solution that will satisfy enough parties to get it through the Knesset - is insurmountable," said Medding. "Not everyone who swears that they want reform will promote it, and not everyone who promotes it will be able to further it in the Knesset." Even should a proposal advance, Medding was far from certain it would constitute a real solution to Israel's political woes. "There has never been a serious proposal for reform; [one] that takes into account the real problems facing such a reform," he added. "In very simple terms, two- or three-party systems exist when countries are divided on one major issue - the socioeconomic one, usually. Multi-party systems exist where the country is deeply divided on one or more of a number of other issues such as ethnicity, borders, religion, defense, urban vs rural. Israel is fundamentally divided on a number of these issues," he said. Medding warned that "it is difficult to construct a reform that caters to the interests of haredim, religious Zionists, Sephardim, Russians, Arabs and also the more heterogeneous parties that appear across lines, like Labor and Likud. How you construct a system that can melt all that down into two or even three parties is beyond the capacity of any electoral engineers, even before you get to the technical difficulty of drawing the map." "The problem you face, democratically, is that you have four or five groups with very clear interests and they don't want to be wiped out. If you make a system in which you wipe out the Arabs, the haredim and the national religious and take away their representation, you will end up with a lot less stability, but it will be extra-parliamentary instability. But if you reshape the system to look like it does now, where they all have representation, what is the purpose?"

Related Content

Netanyahu walks with Harper
September 10, 2012
test with pnina