The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


Policy Papers - Jewish National Agenda

Filed under: Domestic PolicyElectorate/DemographicsIslam & ArabJudaismKnesset/Legislative Papers — admin @ 2:05 pm

A Jewish National Agenda
Professor Paul Eidelberg

A. Parliamentary Electoral Reform

As indicated in the previous article, statesmanship requires (1) well-educated statesmen, (2) a well-disposed people, and (3) well-designed political institutions. It will be obvious that of these prerequisites, indeed, of all the various elements of political life, the easiest to change are election rules. (more…)

Multi-District Elections: Facts and Fictions

Filed under: Electorate/Demographics — eidelberg @ 2:03 pm

MANY Israelis, including academics, believe that such is the smallness of this country, both in population and geographical area, that multi-district or constituency elections are inappropriate. They are wedded to the existing parliamentary system whereby the entire country constitutes a single electoral district in which parties compete and win Knesset seats on the basis of Proportional Representation (PR). This, they believe, enables distinct groups, be they ideological, ethnic, religious, or otherwise to be represented by correspondingly distinct parties in the Knesset regardless of whether the individuals composing these groups are dispersed throughout the country. They contend, moreover, that representation of geographical districts leads to disproportionate representation of diverse groups as well as gerrymandering. Let us distinguish facts from fictions. (more…)

Policy Papers - Making Votes Count

Filed under: Domestic PolicyElectorate/Demographics Papers — admin @ 2:01 pm

Making Votes Count - They Don’t in Israel
Professor Paul Eidelberg


Making Votes Count is the title of a book by Gary Cox, a leading expert on electoral systems.[1] Here I shall try to simplify his mathematically oriented research by paraphrasing and reorganizing statements scattered throughout his study of 77 countries listed by Freedom House as having democratic elections (circa 1992). (more…)

Was Kahane Right?

Filed under: Electorate/DemographicsIslam & ArabYamin Israel Party — eidelberg @ 6:00 am

Rabbi Meir Kahane z’l was the most intellectually honest as well as the most courageous member of Israel’s Knesset. But it is a gross oversimplification to say he was “right,” as his followers have dogmatically proclaimed since the latest Arab uprising.

First of all, Kahane’s calling for the expulsion of Arabs not only resulted in his being unjustly maligned as a racist and a fascist. What is more, his name was used by the Left to delegitimize anyone who opposed the suicidal policy of “territory for peace.” This silenced many who otherwise sympathized with Kahane’s cause. (more…)

America and Israel

Filed under: Electorate/DemographicsBELIEFS & PERSPECTIVES — eidelberg @ 12:04 am

Seven years ago an article appeared in the November issue of The Atlantic Monthly that contains an unintended lesson for Israel.

Mexico, we learn, is by far the leading supplier of immigrants to the United States. Between 1970 and 1996, some five million Mexicans entered the United States to stay. George J. Borjas, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy’s School of Government (and a Cuban émigré) presented a worrisome picture in that Atlantic Monthly article.

He notes that Mexican immigration is concentrated in the Southwest, particularly in California and Texas. “Hispanics, including Central and South Americans but predominantly Mexicans, today compose 28% of the population of Texas and 31% of the population of California.” [As of 2000, the figures were 32% for Texas and 32.4% for California.] More than a million Texans and more than three million Californians were born in Mexico.”

Borjas concludes: (more…)


A Partial Diagnosis

Filed under: GeneralElectorate/Demographics — admin @ 6:25 pm

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Leaving metaphysical causes aside, among the factors leading Israel to the
abyss, the two most basic and seemingly contradictory ones are (1) the
democratic (or “demophrenic”) mentality of its political (and intellectual)
elites, and (2) the undemocratic nature of its political institutions.

The democratic mind is prone to indiscriminate egalitarianism or moral
equivalence. This is why loyal and disloyal citizens of Israel enjoy
political equality. This equality enabled the Labor Party to form, with the
support of five Arab Knesset Members, a government in 1992, and,
subsequently, to foist the Oslo or Israel-PLO Agreement on the Jewish
people. (more…)


10 Short Position Papers - III

Filed under: Electorate/Demographics Papers — admin @ 1:37 pm

III - Electoral Thresholds
Professor Paul Eidelberg July 5, 1999.

Electoral thresholds, like age qualifications for voting or for holding office, are not entirely arbitrary. We know that a 3% electoral threshold for the Knesset would have no significant affect on the number of parties in the Knesset. Had a 3% threshold been operative in the May 1996 elections, it would have eliminated three parties, except that the parties endangered by such a threshold would have formed joint lists. A 4% threshold would have eliminated two other parties, but they too would have combined with one or another party.

After one or two elections, a 5% threshold would produce a Knesset with no more than five parties or party coalitions. Since these coalitions would have to campaign on a common platform, this would tend to enlarge their political horizons and minimize extremism. With no more than five parties in the Knesset—improving its deliberations—the Cabinet would consist of two or three parties. This would facilitate more coherent and resolute national policies and thus contribute to national unity and national security. (more…)

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