Gotta have faith

The Knesset’s top priority for 2017 should be to restore the Israeli public’s belief in its political institutions.

By YOHANAN PLESNER
January 17, 2017 13:33
SHOW US the money. Lawmakers attend a preliminary vote on a bill at the Knesset

SHOW US the money. Lawmakers attend a preliminary vote on a bill at the Knesset. (photo credit: REUTERS)

SOME YEARS ago, a former IDF general and one of Israel’s most esteemed technology innovators, who had been elected to the Knesset, logged into his new parliamentary inbox. He was surprised to discover dozens of messages labeling him corrupt, incompetent and lazy, among other “superlatives.” These greetings had been sent before he even began work as a duly elected Knesset member.

The 2016 Israeli Democracy Index, published at the end of the last calendar year, provides the figures that make sense of this story. While some of the data portrays Israel as doing OK or better, notwithstanding its numerous internal and external challenges, other statistics paint a bleak and disturbing picture of Israeli society’s plummeting faith in its political institutions or elected officials.

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