The Israel Democracy Institute was founded 11 years ago as a research institution geared towards gathering information to aide legislative debate in Israel. Initially, the IDI tracked legislation passed in other countries and advised the Israeli government on various methods for adapting such laws to Israeli society. However, over the years, it has come to focus more on the issue of developing an Israeli Constitution.
There has been criticism in the past over the use of IDI's funds. The institution, which receives millions of dollars in contributions each year, and has offices in the prestigious Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, has been faulted for overspending on its facilities. Others, however, say the criticism is unjust and that the institution has made steady headway on reaching compromises for an Israeli Constitution.
"They were one of the only groups to come to us with real dialogue," said one Arab-Israeli leader from the northern town of Sakhnin. "They were interested in pleasing all sectors of Israeli society, not just the main stream. They wanted to work towards a real document."