Today is November 19, 2019 -

Perspective – part ii

To understand Israeli policy priorities, I think that it is important to start with an understanding of the Israeli political system. As I try to explain, please keep in mind that my degree is in accounting and not in civics. 

The Israeli parliamentary democracy uses a coalition form of government. Citizens vote for 120 Knesset seats. The leader of the party receiving the most votes will have the opportunity to put together a coalition of Knesset members, making up at least the 61 seats necessary for a majority. If successful, that leader will become prime minister. 

This is where things get interesting. 

Putting together coalitions usually requires some intense negotiations and compromises with political opponents who did not receive a majority of votes.  Yet without these opponents in the coalition, there would be no government. 

In 2015 ten parties earned the total 120 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud party earning the most (30). Netanyahu then formed a coalition with four other parties who collectively only earned 31 seats, giving him a 61-seat majority coalition. 

Coalitions make strange bedfellows. In Netanyahu’s case, important coalition partners are the religious. Therefore, even though his religious partners sit in fewer than 20% of the Knesset seats, Netanyahu needs them or his government crumbles. 

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to dive into some very controversial issues and ask you to keep an open mind on perspective. I hope not to share any personal opinions, but rather to point out observations.  

Many Jews are not happy that the ultra-orthodox have a seemingly disproportionate voice in the Israeli government. Consider the perspective that without the ultra-orthodox, Netanyahu loses his government. Which, depending on your perspective, may or may not be a bad thing. 

To be continued…

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