The more things change, the more things remain the same. While the expected 64-seat, four-party coalition that’s expected to emerge from the Nov. 1 election seems likely to be more stable than the 61-seat, eight-party coalition of the previous Knesset, it is still in danger of collapse. News reports indicate that discussions have not proceeded smoothly and that members of the 32-seat Likud party are unhappy that the most important ministries are being given to members of the three smaller parties which, between them, hold the other 32 seats. And with all due respect to outgoing Minister for Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai, I don’t think creating a new left-wing party, with a goal of gaining 14 seats in a future Knesset, will do anything to reverse Israel’s electoral problems.
What Israel really needs to do is to decrease the number of parties (forty stood for election in the most recent voting, but only eight passed the election threshold) and take steps to ensure that the composition of the elected government will reflect the wishes of the voters. Small factions sharing similar political views should be encouraged to coalesce into larger parties.
Each party should be required to publish its platform and obtain a specified number of signatures of registered voters before it is allowed to stand for election. Once in office, parties should strive to serve their constituents’ needs (at least partly because voters will abandon those which fail to live up to their promises).
Parties should be required to participate in public debates, to be followed by polling of Israel’s citizens. Parties judged unlikely to pass the election threshold should be required to sit out the current election.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta