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Constitution & Rights The Foundation

Something to Ponder and Something to Do

For thirty years—ever since the September 1978 Camp David Accords—not a day passes that warnings are not issued or published by Zionist-oriented individuals in Israel and in America that a Palestinian state would doom Israel to oblivion.

The present writer personally warned Defense Minister Shimon Peres of this danger in September 1976, the month after making aliya. Indeed, I warned Prime Minister Menachem Begin the day before he left for Camp David of Anwar Sadat’s peace-and war-strategy. In vain.

Consider, therefore, the enormous time and energy, the millions of dollars, the countless demonstrations, the newspaper ads and articles, the policy papers, the books, the public lectures, the videos, that have been devoted to stopping the government’s policy of retreating from Jewish land, the policy of returning to Israel’s indefensible 1949 armistice lines or Auschwitz borders.

Thirty and more years of warnings issued by prominent individuals and organizations, and yet Israel is closer than ever to the abyss. The use of all these material and human resources by so many individuals and groups have had no discernible influence on Israeli governments regardless of which party of party leader has headed these governments.

I therefore ask: Suppose these individuals and groups had devoted a significant amount of the time and energy and resources mentioned above to an organized effort to change Israel’s system of governance.

I refer to a system that has enabled Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers (the Executive branch), members of the Knesset (the Legislative branch), and the Supreme Court (the Judicial branch) to violate the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people with impunity.

I ask: while so many people have devoted so much time and energy and money about the deadly consequences of the government’s policy of “territory for peace”— suppose a comparable, organized effort was made to empower the people of Israel by democratizing every branch of Israeli government.

Would Likud leader Ariel Sharon have adopted Labor’s policy of disengagement and thereby nullify the January 2003 election? Would 23 Likud MKs have voted for that policy if they had been individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections? Would a Knesset no longer subservient to the Government tolerate the judicial despotism of the Supreme Court?

If a well-organized and well-financed effort had been undertaken to change the structure of Israeli government, would Israeli and American Zionists still have to issue the same old monotonous (and ineffective) warnings they have been issuing, day after day for thirty years?

I say this because of the unheralded success of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy. This organization, operating on a shoestring budget, but having published countless articles and policy papers, has not only shown, in unprecedented detail and profundity, how the flaws inherent in Israel’s system of government are largely responsible for its feebleness, ineptitude, and corruption. What is more, by virtue of its incessant publications and frequent radio and television broadcasts in Israel and in America—this Foundation, I dare say, has induced various political parties and NGOs to advocate, or at last give lip service to, some of the Foundation’s reform proposals (typically, but not exclusively, without attribution).

Lacking, however, among these partial copycats—aside from cooperation—are two things. First, the wherewithal to produce a well-designed constitution based on democratic principles assimilated to Jewish ideas and values; and second, the candor or courage to admit that Israel is not an authentic democracy and is in dire need of regime change.

Hence I invite readers to join our Foundation. Help us hasten the goal of transforming Israel into a Jewish constitutional democracy. I mean a new kind of democracy, one whose leaders will preserve Israel’s territorial integrity on the one hand, and wholeheartedly enhance Israel’s Jewish national identity on the other.

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