May 17, 2012
The New Coalition Will Change Israeli Politics Forever
The first weekend in May, we learned that early Israeli elections were scheduled for September 4th. Those elections were cancelled last week, with the stunning announcement that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the head of the leading opposition party, Kadima, reached an agreement to bring the party into the government, forestalling an election till the official end of its term on October 22, 2013.
The inclusion of Kadima, the party formed by former Prime Minster Ariel Sharon, brings the ruling coalition to 94 seats, almost 80% of the 120-seat Knesset and the largest coalition in the 64-year history of the modern State of Israel.
If you were to believe the mainstream media, the agreement has given Bibi Netanyahu royal powers so he can sabotage any possible peace agreement and bomb Iran into submission. Nonsense! The reason for the deal has nothing to do with foreign relations and everything to do with internal Israeli issues. As a result of the deal, there may be significant changes to the Israeli political system that will long outlive this coalition.
Israel has no constitution (they tried for two years and couldn’t come up with an agreement). They have Basic Laws dealing with the formation and role of governmental institutions and civil rights. Therefore, to make changes in the system, all that is needed is a new law. The basic law regarding the government was passed in 1968, changed in 1991 and then changed back in 2001.
Israel’s political system is great because of its inclusiveness. The 120 seats in the Knesset are handed out proportionally to each party that receives at least 2% of the vote. The lousy thing about the Israeli political system is its inclusiveness---there are thirteen different parties in the Knesset today.