Defense Minister Ehud Barak 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A column by Defense Minister Ehud Barak that appeared in Friday’s Israel Hayom
Hebrew daily demonstrated that even in his small, five-MK Independence faction
there were deep divides over changing the electoral system.
four political allies broke off from the Labor Party last year due to major
disagreements on key issues. While the Independence faction has been more
harmonious, its leaders purposely left the issue of changes to the electoral
system out of the party platform because they could not agree.
column, Barak blamed the system for the difficulties in drafting haredim
(ultra-Orthodox), saying it gave too much power to sectarian politicians,
lobbyists and spin doctors. He added that it forced prime ministers to put the
agendas of small parties over that of the majority of the
“The need to change the electoral system is not a technical
change,” Barak wrote. “The current system is the harshest disease that causes
all the problems that have been on the public agenda over the past
Barak’s column faced criticism from the head of his own Knesset
faction, MK Einat Wilf, who believes the Israeli electoral system is the best in
“I’m working all the time to convince Barak that he is wrong,”
Wilf said Saturday night. “There are more and more people against changing the
system. The people who want to change it have so many different views that the
outcome will be zero, which is good.”
Wilf said she was fairly confident that
proponents of changing the system would be able to agree only on raising the
two-percent electoral threshold by half a percentage point, although even that
change could be vetoed by Shas and United Torah Judaism.
attracted to changing the system because they would like to believe there are
easy solutions,” she said.