Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The difference between the political system in Israel and the US

For those of you confused by my post yesterday and who were thinking, but pork plays such a big role in the US, why should it be different in Israel?

The answer is that there is a fundamental difference in the system.

In the US a Congressman or Senator represents a distinct geographical location which contains a set of voters. therefore if the Congressman brings money to his district he helps his voters and it helps him out.

In Israel, an MP represents no one. There are no districts he has no real voters. number 14 on Shinui's list (number 36 on Likud's list etc) is some nobody who most people haven't heard of. He is responsible to no one specifically. The leader of the party is not really responsible to anyone either. The parties voters are spread out all over the country.

Let's take a concrete example. The Federal government offers mass transit funds, they can either go to Boston or NYC. Both cities are Democratic strongholds, and yet, the elected officials will fight like mad to make sure that the money goes to their district. In Israel, there is no reason to fight. No one represents a specific area so to a large extent wherever the money goes is basically the same.

I think the system in Israel is terrible. There is no responsibility. The average citizen has no one really representing them and nowhere to turn.

I believe that Israel needs to go to a system where some percentage (let's say half) of the MP's are elected at large and the other half are elected from districts. It would create a sense of accountability that just doesn't exist today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why just half?
Maybe I am too American (in regards to this, if not much else :) ), but I think this system stinks, to put it bluntly.
The question is, would this make any drastic changes in the gov't make up? For example, would Likud, or any other party, get significantly more or less seats?