Archive for Constitution & Rights

Democracy and the Secret “Rule of Law” in Israel

There is much misunderstanding in the Diaspora and even in Israel about Israel's system of government—an assortment of institutions that endow a few men with concealed and despotic power.

A basic reason for this pernicious state of affairs is Israel, unlike France or the United States, has no written constitution. Instead, Israel has a crazy-quilt variety of “Basic Laws” passed at different times by different governments led by different political parties.

Israel's first Basic Law, The Knesset, was initiated by the Knesset Law Committee in 1958, ten years after the founding of the State. Some other Basic Laws are Israel Lands (1960); The President of the State (1964); The Government (1968); The State Economy (1975); The Army (1979); Jerusalem, Capital of Israel (1980); The Judiciary (1984).

A word about Basic Law: The Government. This law stipulates, “The Government is competent to do in the name of the State, subject to any law, any act whose doing is not enjoined by law upon another authority.” The Government can therefore declare war, make treaties, and change the exchange rate without ever consulting the Knesset! » Continue reading “Democracy and the Secret “Rule of Law” in Israel”

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The Fate of the United States

Revisionist historians aside, or those who do not understand Lincoln’s statesmanship, the Civil War that broke out in America after the 1860 election was over the slavery issue. Stated more precisely, the issue was whether slavery was to be extended to the territories of the United States. At issue, along with slavery, was the Declaration of Independence and its fundamental principle of moral equality.

Lincoln understood that if slavery were extended to the territories, slave states would eventually outnumber free states, in consequence of which, the slave states could readily amend the Constitution and extend slavery to the free states. Of course, the exact opposite would happen if the territories became free states. Lincoln steadfastly opposed the extension of slavery, and this meant civil war. So it was yesterday.

Today, however, the government of the United States, with the servile compliance of the government of Israel, wants to extend slavery via a Palestinian state into the territory called the “West Bank.” I say “slavery” because a Palestinian state would be nothing less than a tyranny, and that means human servitude.

Out of ignorance or interest, the candidates in the U.S. presidential campaign have endorsed a Palestinian state even though reason and experience demonstrate that such a state would be ruled by Arab despots and thereby lead to Israel’s demise. Forgotten are the basic principles of the American Declaration of Independence. » Continue reading “The Fate of the United States”

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A Jewish National Strategy for the New Year

It requires no great wisdom to enumerate the axiomatic requirements of a Jewish national strategy. Only needed is candor and courage, without which no Jewish leadership movement is worthy of moral and financial support. The axiomatic requirements of a Jewish national strategy are simply these:

  • Public affirmation that Israel is the State of the Jews.

  • Public affirmation that a Jewish State must be based on Jewish principles and values.

  • Public affirmation that the primary source of Jewish principles and values is the Torah.

  • Public affirmation that only Jews, whether religious or not, can formulate a Jewish national strategy. » Continue reading “A Jewish National Strategy for the New Year”

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Something to Ponder and Something to Do

For thirty years—ever since the September 1978 Camp David Accords—not a day passes that warnings are not issued or published by Zionist-oriented individuals in Israel and in America that a Palestinian state would doom Israel to oblivion.

The present writer personally warned Defense Minister Shimon Peres of this danger in September 1976, the month after making aliya. Indeed, I warned Prime Minister Menachem Begin the day before he left for Camp David of Anwar Sadat’s peace-and war-strategy. In vain.

Consider, therefore, the enormous time and energy, the millions of dollars, the countless demonstrations, the newspaper ads and articles, the policy papers, the books, the public lectures, the videos, that have been devoted to stopping the government’s policy of retreating from Jewish land, the policy of returning to Israel’s indefensible 1949 armistice lines or Auschwitz borders.

Thirty and more years of warnings issued by prominent individuals and organizations, and yet Israel is closer than ever to the abyss. The use of all these material and human resources by so many individuals and groups have had no discernible influence on Israeli governments regardless of which party of party leader has headed these governments.

I therefore ask: Suppose these individuals and groups had devoted a significant amount of the time and energy and resources mentioned above to an organized effort to change Israel’s system of governance. » Continue reading “Something to Ponder and Something to Do”

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Toward Respectable Political Parties

Edted transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, July 14, 2008.

The classic definition of party was set forth by that great 18th century philosopher-statesman Edmund Burke: “Party is a body of men united, for promoting by their joint endeavours, the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed.”

By definition, a party represents only a part of the whole. While its members present their party principle as conducive to the national interest or the common good, they inevitably criticize the principles of other parties as not conducive to the common good, but they don’t necessarily impugn the integrity of their adversaries. For Burke, respectable parties must consist of “honest men of principle.”

Parties exist because men have different interests and conflicting opinions concerning such ends of government as justice and security, liberty and equality, prosperity and public morality. And of course such differences thrive in democracies.

Democracy, however, stands on the principle of “one adult, one vote.” One adult, one vote is virtually equivalent to “one opinion, one vote,” which suggests that democracy conduces to moral relativism. This is what decent people in democracies have yet to see: that democracy, as understand in this era of secularism, provides no objective justification for decency! Enough to mention the pornography and perversions now legalized in virtually all democratic countries. » Continue reading “Toward Respectable Political Parties”

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Jewish Roots of the American Constitution

Introduction

Although many of the framers of the American Constitution were not devout, their political mentality was shaped in universities whose curriculum was based very much on Jewish ideas. Accordingly, this essay will be divided into two parts. The first part will show how Judaism, in particular the Five Books of Moses, influenced higher education in 17th and 18th century America. The second part will examine the institutions prescribed in the American Constitution and show their roots in Jewish laws and principles.

A.   Historical Background[1]

1.   No nation has been more profoundly influenced by the “Old Testament” than America. Many of America's early statesmen and educators were schooled in Hebraic civilization. The second president of the United States, John Adams, a Harvard graduate, had this to say of the Jewish people:

The Jews have done more to civilize men than any other nation…. They are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited the earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily than any other Nation, ancient or modern.[2] » Continue reading “Jewish Roots of the American Constitution”

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Electoral Rules Matter: Part II

Part I cited the renowned expert on electoral rules professor Rein Taagepera. Perhaps his most telling point is this: “As the number of actors increases, the number of possible disputes increases roughly as the square of the number of actors.” This obviously applies to Israel, whose government typically consists of roughly 20 cabinet ministers representing rival political parties. No wonder the average duration of Israeli governments since 1948 is less than two years! This short tenure renders it virtually impossible for the government to pursue coherent, consistent, and long-term national policies.

Here I am reminded of the warnings and wisdom of James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 62, where he defends the six-year tenure of the Senate, a defense that applies to Israel’s Knesset as well as to its Government despite their prescribed (but unrealized) tenure of four years: » Continue reading “Electoral Rules Matter: Part II”

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Electoral Rules Matter: Part I

Professor of social sciences Rein Taagepera and political scientist Matthew Soberg Shugart are renowned experts on electoral systems. Israeli politicians should study their book Seats and Votes.

Taagepera and Shugart use mathematical models in studying scores of electoral rules. Their research is especially relevant to Israel, not only because the government is working on a constitution, but also because it is considering a proposal to make the leader of the party that wins the largest number of seats in a Knesset election Israel’s prime minister.

That Kadima won 29 seats (the most of any party) in the 2006 election would have been sufficient to make Ehud Olmert prime minister without his having been designated by the president to form a government and have it approved by the Knesset. » Continue reading “Electoral Rules Matter: Part I”

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Olmert Abandons Israel's Citizens—A Letter

Anyone still believe that Israel is a democracy?

But do you see how the myth of Israeli democracy colors Israel’s ruling elites with legitimacy? -P.E.


Contributed by Dov Even-Or

January 6, 2008

Olmert Does Not Protect the Citizens, But Abandons Them to the Mercy of Their Enemies

  1. The government of Ehud Olmert betrays its citizens. My claim is not based on opinions, intentions or analyses made by members of the government, but on its acts and deeds that are committed publicly; therefore this government is illegal, its decisions do not bind, and it is the right of every citizen not to obey them.

    In order to avoid being labeled (right wing, extremist or as representative of certain interests), I will base my opinion only on facts and pure legal analysis.

  2. Lack of protection for the citizens of the Western Negev.

    1. For the past seven years, this area has been targeted by Kassam rockets and fortunately, the number of casualties has been low; » Continue reading “Olmert Abandons Israel's Citizens—A Letter”

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Civil Disobedience Versus Sedition

MK Aryeh Eldad, responding to Prime Minister Olmert’s ban on further construction in Judea and Samaria is calling for “civil disobedience.” I wonder whether he fully understands what he is up against?

Olmert’s decision is perhaps the first tangible consequence of the Annapolis Conference, which sanctions the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2008. Of course, a Palestinian state was tacitly agreed upon when the Rabin government signed the Oslo or Israel-PLO Agreement of September 1993. It thus appears that Mr. Eldad’s call for “civil disobedience” against Olmert’s ban on construction in Judea and Samaria is actually a protest against Oslo.

This recalls Moshe Feiglin’s “civil disobedience” in 1995, when he organized demonstrations across Israel blocking main intersections in protest against Oslo. The following year, however, Mr. Feiglin was convicted of sedition for what he had naively termed civil disobedience! » Continue reading “Civil Disobedience Versus Sedition”

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