Archive for Knesset/Legislative

Uncomfortable Issues

Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—say that Israel is a democracy, and most people believe them. Let’s examine this issue.

A basic principle of democracy is government by the consent of the governed. The meaning of the term “consent” becomes evident when we speak of individuals reaching the “age of consent.” At that time, individuals are deemed responsible for their behavior. They can sign contracts and participate in voting.

The term “consent” thus involves volition qualified by reason. Government by the consent of governed thus requires well-informed citizens. Being will informed necessitates knowledge of the true nature of Israeli government. Unfortunately, most Israelis, including many of the educated, are sadly lacking in such knowledge.

For example, Benjamin Netanyahu was asked by a representative of the media whether he favors a presidential system of government. He replied that such a system would give the president unlimited power! » Continue reading “Uncomfortable Issues”

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Poli. Sci. 101 for MK Yitzhak Levy

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, June 23, 2008.

Knesset Member Yitzhak Levy wants to raise the number of Knesset members from 120 to 150. As reported in The Jerusalem Post last week (June 18, 2008), Levy complains that “the workload placed on MKs had grown to such an extent that it was simply impossible to adequately study the issues upon which MKs were expected to vote in a plenum, as well as in committees in which they sit.”

Mr. Levy also complains that, given the system of coalition cabinet government, some 30 MKs—one out of every four members—currently serves as either a minister or deputy minister, and that’s an additional assignment which distracts from their participation in the legislative function.

Levy’s proposal to increase the Knesset’s membership may be indicative of the incompetence of Israel’s legislative body. Let’s compare the Knesset with the American House of Representatives, beginning with the House. » Continue reading “Poli. Sci. 101 for MK Yitzhak Levy”

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There are No Zionists in the Knesset!

Although the title of this article may appear outrageous, it is the only logical conclusion one can draw from irrefutable facts about Israel’s Knesset..

No one will deny that the Knesset’s three Arab parties (10 seats) are not Zionist—right?

No one will deny that the Knesset’s “ultra-religious” parties, Shas (12 seats) and Torah United Judaism (6 seats), are not Zionist—right?

No one will deny that Kadima (29 seats), Labor-Meimad (19 seats), Gil Pensioners (7 seats), and Meretz-Yachad (5 seats) are not Zionist—indeed, all support the policy of “Jewish land for peace”—right?

But what about Israel Beiteinu (11 seats), Likud (12 seats), and the National Religious-National Union coalition (9 seats)? Sorry, but they too are not Zionist! » Continue reading “There are No Zionists in the Knesset!”

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An International Jewish Parliament

First published April 1996, Jerusalem Foundation Papers.

Overcoming Israel’s Fatal Flaw: Plan III—An International Jewish Parliament

“The majority of the people living in a Jewish State must be Jewish. We must prevent a situation of an insufficient Jewish majority and we dare not have a Jewish minority….There is room for a non-Jewish minority on condition that it accept the destiny of the State vis- -vis the Jewish people, culture, tradition, and belief. The minority is entitled to equal rights as individuals with respect to their distinct religion and culture, but not more than that.”

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Tel Aviv, May 6, 1976

 

Israel’s Fatal Flaw

The most neglected and most urgent issue confronting Israel—the issue implicit in the above headnote—is the Arab vote. It was the Arab vote that brought the Labor Party to power in the June 1992 Knesset elections. It was the Arab vote that led to the Oslo Accords and the shrinkage of Israel. Unless this issue is resolved, Israel will not see much of the 21st century.

Increasingly obvious in Israel is a fatal flaw. The flaw originated in the Proclamation of the Establishment of the State of 1948. » Continue reading “An International Jewish Parliament”

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Some Prerequisites of Representative Democracy: They’re Missing In Israel

Few people in Israel have anything but the most superficial knowledge of representative democracy and its prerequisites. But then, what else should be expected in a country whose ministry of education systematically omits this topic from the public school curriculum and where even universities seem to be black holes on the subject?

It should first be understood that constituency or multi-district elections is a prerequisite of representative democracy. What is not widely known is that representatives divide their constituencies into four distinct groups of voters, each of which they treat differently.

  1. 1)  The largest group of voters is the district as a whole, or the Geographic Constituency. » Continue reading “Some Prerequisites of Representative Democracy: They’re Missing In Israel”

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Treason

To: Members of the Knesset—Especially Those Identified with the Nationalist Camp.

1) How many of you are cognizant of certain acts prohibited by the Law of Treason, namely:

  • The category of acts which “impair the [territorial] sovereignty” of the State of Israel—section 97(a)—such as the 1993 Oslo Agreement;

  • The category of acts which “impair the [territorial] integrity” of the State of Israel—section 97(b)—such as the 2005 evacuation of the Israel Defense Forces from Gaza and the surrendering of this land to Hamas; » Continue reading “Treason”

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Knesset Against Annapolis

Israel's Knesset Votes Against Annapolis

More than half the Knesset members from both the Opposition and Coalition factions have signed a petition against Olmert's plan to give away parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. The document rejects this unlawful plot to relinquish Israel's sovereignty over the Old City—the city holy to Jews throughout the world and to Christians everywhere who abhor the prospect of Muslim sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

The Knesset is of course the supreme law-making branch of the State of Israel. » Continue reading “Knesset Against Annapolis”

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A Political Dictionary for Israelis and Immigrants: Part I

A. Democracy: Two Types

  1. Normative” or classical democracy: based on the idea of man’s creation in the holy image of God. This provides democracy’s basic principles, freedom and equality, with rational and moral constraints. (Freedom is not “living as you like,” and equality is not a leveling but and elevating principle. The holy nation is a “kingdom of noblemen.”)

  2. Normless” or contemporary democracy. No ethical standards. Freedom is living as you please, and equality leads to vulgarity via the equivalence of all lifestyles. (Moral equivalence: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Arafat is awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.) » Continue reading “A Political Dictionary for Israelis and Immigrants: Part I”

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Why the Knesset Tolerates Judicial Imperialism—Postscript

The Knesset has welcomed the appointment of Supreme Court critic Prof. Daniel Friedman as justice minister. The members of the Knesset will now have their cake and as well as the icing. They see in Prof. Friedman's appointment two things favorable to their own prerogatives:

  1. a person who has been very critical of the Court's usurpation of the Knesset's legislative powers; and

  2. a person whose secular, leftwing orientation is consistent with the Knesset's own political orientation—the orientation of the Establishment.

Although Prof. Friedman's appointment is favorable to the rule of law that has been violated by Israel's juristocracy, it still remains for the Knesset to amend Basic Law: Judiciary to curb the Court and restore a proper division of power between the judicial and legislative branches of government. Let us hope that the new minister of justice will be able to facilitate this objective.

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Why the Knesset Tolerates Judicial Imperialism

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, February 5, 2007.

Part I

At the risk of offending religious people, I am going to argue in Part II of this essay that Israel’s religious parties have unwittingly contributed to judicial imperialism and the secularization of Israeli society. However, to defend this conclusion, I must set forth, in Part I, statements made by eminent Israelis who have denounced the Supreme Court for exceeding its lawful powers and endangering the democratic as well as Jewish character of the State.

Former President of Israel, the late Chaim Herzog: “In a democracy, according to [Justice Aharon] Barak, the courts are placed above the Government. In my humble opinion, this approach endangers, in certain cases, the very basis of democracy.” » Continue reading “Why the Knesset Tolerates Judicial Imperialism”

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