Middle East expert Bernard Lewis discusses why Israel’s current parliamentary political system – despite its longevity – is still unstable and prone to insular party politics rather than the urgent needs of constituents:
A significant disadvantage of the present system is that there is no direct relationship between the elected members and the electors. In the Anglo-American system, every member is directly answerable to the people of the place he represents. They watch their member’s actions, and vote accordingly in the next election.
In the Israeli system, the member is only responsible to the party leadership or, worse still, to the party bureaucracy. His success or failure in the election depends less on the will of the electorate than on the place assigned to him in the party list. This is not a healthy system, and it can only encourage the corruption about which so many Israelis complain today. The Knesset would improve dramatically in quality and experience if its members, including the members of the government, were obliged to fight and win their own election and re-election by the electorate.