Monday, February 20, 2006

Inventing the Wheel

Many of you who have read this blog know that I have a lot of trouble with the Israeli government as it is. I think that it is an extremely flawed democracy, with no system of checks and balances.

Many Americans erroneously think that Israel is a democratic country like America, and that the only difference is that we have a parliamentary electoral system (where you vote for a party instead of for Prime Minister directly). I used to think so too. When I became more and more interested in politics here, and my Hebrew improved so that I was able to read newspapers and other sources in my second language, I started to learn differently.

My first shock came when I discovered that Israel does not have a constitution at all. For years the Knesset has been trying to address this problem, and Ben Chorin has a good post about it here., including a link to a proposed constitution in English.

To be honest, I am still confused about how the courts, and the Supreme Court especially, make decisions. I have a vague idea that there is a set of basic laws that were cobbled together from what existed before independence in 1948, made up of Ottomon and British laws, with additions made by the first Knesset. Any lawyers out there who would like to enlighten me further are welcome - but easy on the jargon please!

I still believe in working "within" the system, or better yet, overhauling the entire system itself, even if it is extremely frustrating. G-d does his part, and we have to do ours, even if it seems daunting.

15 Comments:

Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I cannot resist a mention that other, quite democratic countries, do not have a constitution either.

UK would be a prime example.

I agree that our democracy is flawed, but there is no perfect one. I hope that you would not use US democracy as a perfect example, would you? Been there, seen some flaws - one could drive a truck (OK, a medium - sized one) through them.

12:56 PM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger Rafi G said...

I am not that astute of a political analyst to know what you are referring to. What is an example of a hole in US democracy that you can drive a truck through?

3:36 PM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not a lawyer, so I am giving you an example of the "business end", rafi: election of the judges. This process became so politicised in US that a candidate may as well come with a party card - it will be a partisan process all the way.

Not being a "pinko commie" myself, I can also talk about the extreme examples of capitalism running rampant and unchecked, about lack of solution for the medical care, etc. etc. - all these ills related to the lack of social check and balance system. Not that I aim to minimize the greatness of that nation - but its issues should not be dismissed out of hand.

4:39 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Not to sound negative, but I think the redemption will arrive prior to a successful overhaul of this sad "system"

Oh well, at least that means it's bound to happen :-)

7:32 AM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

snoopythegoon - you are assuming, in your second comment, that the government has a requirement to have a "social" set of checks and balances. I disagree. According to Jewish law, we must give 10% of our wealth to charity, but otherwise there is no additional financial obligation. I am happy that we have a socialist system of health care here in Israel, but it is by no means "required" in my opinion.

tovya - whatever works, Tovya!

7:41 AM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

rafi - Thanks for visiting. I am a "lurker" at your blog but enjoy it very much.

7:43 AM, February 21, 2006  
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