Thursday, March 23, 2006

Only in Israel: A party called מלחמה בבנקים

The platform is as the name suggests "War on the Banks".

Here are some more interesting parties:
  • גיל - a party for retirees. The party platform is to protect the rights of retirees e.g AARP

  • צדק לכל - The party platform is equal rights for men regarding family law

  • לח"ם - Anti-corruption party

  • עלה ירוק - Main platform, the legalization of marijuana

  • עתיד אחד - Main platform, to bring all the Ethiopian Jews to Israel

  • ציונות חדשה - Main platform, government reform

The common denominator among all these parties is that they are narrow 1 issue parties. The only reason they exist is because of the election system in Israel where elections are nationwide using a proportional representation system. In a normal political system none of these parties would exist, rather they would be subsumed under one of the larger parties. There are 30!! parties running in the current election between 10 - 15 will get into the Knesset. There is no way that the next government (whoever leads it) will be stable given these numbers.

It is obvious that the political system in Israel needs to be changed to some kind of district based system. I an very skeptical of this getting done, no politician wants to vote himself out of a job.


Anonymous said...

They also encourage active political participation. In other FPTP countries a party gets 40% of the vote and gets to govern. Getting 40% of the vote yet getting 60% of the members of the legislature is again anti-democratic. Israle has variety. In first past the post systems you have 2 parties and thats it. Not very much choice.

I think we should respect the will of the voters. If they want to vote for single issue parties so be it. Let them be represented. Just because one disagress with them does not invalidate their right to have a say.

Also if Israel did not have proportional representation it would not have religious parties and we most probably would be looking at a much more secular state.

bluke said...

The problem with the system is twofold:
1. Governments are unstable. When is the last time a government served out it's full term? The average term of a government is something like 2 years. This is incredibly inefficient and means very little gets done. This is why there is absolutley no long term planning in this country. The reason that governments are unstable is that there are too many parties and therefore no one party has a majority.
2. There is no accountability. Who represents me? If I have a problem who do I turn to?

There are a number of things to think about with regards to the religious parties.
1. They may do more harm then good. The fact that you have religious parties in politics haggling over dollars makes religious Jews look bad.
2. If Israel had a district based system there would definately be religious representatives. Bnei Brak has a Chareidi mayor and I am sure would have a Charedi representative, the same for other religious enclaves.

There are systems that can ensure that the ruling party gets at least 50% of the vote.

The Observer said...

I don't know that one-issue parties are due to the proportional representaiton system. Fringe parties are endemic in free democratic systems. To take an example, consider the list of Canadian political parties. Here we have the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada (protecting animals), he Bloc Quebecois (Quebec separatism), the First Peoples National Party of Canada (Aboriginal rights), Marijuana Party (enough said), and the Western Block Party (Western separatism). Only the Bloc actually gets seats.

Further, first-past-the-post does not imply only two parties. If it did, it wouldn't be such a problem of 40% of votes getting 60% of the seats. To take the Canadian example again, there are currently 4 parties represented in the House of Commons, none of which have the majority of seats.

Districts of some sort would be a marvelous improvement, with some flavour of proportionality retained. I wonder about the religious response to moving to a district system though. To have districts requires a census, which perhaps opens a big can of worms unless the census bureau is set up to collect silver half-shekel coins of the proper weight.

Anonymous said...

Someone told me that someone mentioned to the Chazon Ish the pshat mentioned about har k'gigis being non-literal, and the CI said he would not drink wine from that persons house....

something to think about...

also, take a look at shut rashba 1:418 who in the middle has 4 "rules" as to how to determine if aggadah is to be taken k'pshuto or as a moshel. interesting and i dont know who agrees/disagrees, but imho certainly worth a look. its quite long, but these rules can be found in the middle of it.

bluke said...

Then I guess he wouldn't have eaten at R' Meir Simcha Hakohen Midvinsk's house as he gave a non-literal interpretation in the Meshech Chochma.

Anonymous said...

where is the meshech chochma found? that would be a great makor!

chardal said...

Are you joking?

I don't believe that story about the CI for a second. Almost everyone takes it non-literaly.

Anonymous said...

chardal - how about some sources of almost anyone?
i thought the pshat bluke offered was atleast viable ,and then someone told me this. so a few sources would help me out

bluke said...

The Meshech Chochma is on the pasuk in Yisro (י"ט ט"ז) of ויתיצבו בתחתית ההר. See this post כפה עליהם הר כגיגית Why? for further detail.