PROSPECTS FOR ELECTORAL REFORM
The structural crisis facing the Israeli political system has
been attributed to a number of factors. Such factors include the
absence of a written constitution that provides for the separation
of state and religion and safeguards the rights of the individual.
Another factor often cited is the country's inability to form
effective coalition governments and cabinets--a phenomenon caused
by a breakdown of the dominant party system and the resulting
inability of any one major party to garner a parliamentary majority.
As a consequence, in forming coalitions each major party has had
to depend heavily on smaller parties bent on promoting their own
Various reforms have been proposed to blunt the disruptive role
of minor parties. One suggestion is to change the electoral system
of pure proportional representation, raising the minimum percentage
threshold required to obtain a Knesset seat. One of the most comprehensive
studies of this problem, The Political System in Israel: Proposals
for Change, edited by Baruch Zisar, argues that the negative
features of the Israeli electoral system have so far outweighed
its positive attributes. The study concludes that individual district
constituencies may offer Israel the best form of electoral representation.
Following the stalemated results of the November 1988 Knesset
elections, a committee composed of representatives of the two
major parties was set up to study changes in the proportional
representation system. In a newspaper interview, Shimon Peres
admitted that "The democratic system in Israel has reached a point
in which it has begun to be ineffective and a change is demanded
in the electoral system."
Data as of December 1988