Time for Change

When I was in high school, I remember my British headmaster complaining about the Israeli multiparty political system. He thought the two-party, first-past-the-post British system was far better, because it allowed for a significant change every few years. In practice no party ruled for more than two, maybe three, consecutive terms (the Thatcher/Major run was an exception, but as this conversation took place in the early 80s he couldn’t have known…).

At the time, being young and ignorant, I didn’t pay much attention to what he was saying. I remember thinking to myself that a multiparty, direct representation system was “more democratic”, reflecting the true wishes of the voters.

Today, I think my old headmaster was spot on. Israel’s political system is broken, with too many parties and too many elections. The coalition governments take forever to get going because of the leverage the smaller parties have on them, and as a result the government is inherently crippled, unable to rule properly. The fact that Israel will have five elections in eleven years speaks for itself.

It’s time to change the system, so that no more than 2-3 parties end up running for election. I’m no expert, but raising the barriers to entry (say to 10% of the vote) and scrapping the laws allowing parties to break up mid-term are a good start. Sectorial parties – Arabs, settlers, religious, nutcases from right and left, etc. – should all find their place in one big supermarket-like party. Or go home. Israel cannot afford this charade to continue.

Oh, and Bibi must go. He’s overstayed his welcome.


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