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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Is Israel a democracy?

For those of you who think that Israel is a democracy or has 'representative government' (and I know that's most of you, and I admit that Israel is the closest thing to a democracy in this region by far), please consider the case of Yesh Atid MK Adi Kol, who had the gall to abstain in a Knesset vote on changing the electoral system in the wee hours of this morning.
After her controversial vote, Kol had a heated conversation with Shelach in the back of the plenum and was visibly upset. About 15 minutes later, she sent the following message to the press: "Today, I abstained in the vote on the electoral reform bill. This was a decision that mainly hurt my fellow faction members, and I apologize." Even though the bill passed, Lapid and Shelach removed Kol from chairmanship of the Knesset Public Petitions Committee and from membership of any Knesset committees. In addition, she won't be able to propose bills through the party.
Sources in Yesh Atid expressed discomfort with the decision, saying the party's leadership went too far.
Shelach, however, defended the decision, pointing out that the vote was so important to the coalition that MKs who were abroad flew back to Israel.
"This was a cardinal vote. Coalition discipline isn't about being a dictatorship. There is no coalition without discipline," he told Israel Radio.
Huh? If this had been a no-confidence vote, there might be a place for that kind of claim. But it wasn't a no-confidence vote. And if she had voted against it and/or it hadn't passed, they might have had a reason to be upset. But she abstained and it passed. At what point is a member of Israel's Knesset allowed to have a conscience? At what point is a member of Israel's Knesset allowed to represent the people of Israel and not her party?

Sorry - this is really wrong.

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At 9:54 PM, Blogger Mardukhai said...

The people didn't vote for her. They voted for her party, its leader, and its platform.

Until Israel has true parliamentary constituencies, party discipline is the only democratic means to deliver a party's promise to its electorate.

Under such circumstances, the party did the right thing.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger mrzee said...

The author evidently doesn't have much familiarity with a parliamentary system.

Here in Canada party discipline is much stricter than in Israel. At best a member who disagrees with their party's policy won't show up for a vote but voting against or even abstaining just never happens, no-confidence vote or not.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

It is a democracy of some sort. They have democracies in Arab countries, too.

What Israel doesn't have is a republican democracy.


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