Israel Country Study Research Paper

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Political/Government Assessment

There is no constitution that is followed in Israel. Instead, the affairs of the country are regulated and administered under the Declaration of Establishment (1948) in addition to the laws made by the parliament and citizens. The Head of the State is always the President which is regarded as a principally ceremonial responsible position. The legislature has the responsibility of electing the President for a term of 7 years without any term limits. On the other hand, the Prime Minister is responsible for heading the government. Normally, the largest party's leader is given the mentioned position after the completion of legislative elections. The unicameral legislature has a Knesset consisting of one hundred and twenty seats. The members of Knesset are selected by ballot for a term of 4 years. It is essential for the Knesset to approve a cabinet that is appointed by the Prime Minister. This is also necessary to mention here that Knesset has power over the president and the prime minister and both the designated persons are answerable before Knesset. Governmentally, there are 6 districts into which Israel is divided[footnoteRef:2]. The districts are Central District, Haifa District, Jerusalem District, Northern District, Southern District and Tel Aviv District[footnoteRef:3]. [2: "Israel (country, Asia) from the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.." Questia. http://www.questia.com/read/1E1-Israel/israel-country-asia (accessed June 9, 2013).] [3: Harvey Henry American University Washington, D.C. Smith, Area Handbook for Israel. (Washington, DC: For sale by the Supt. Of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.], 1970), pageNr.]

Extent of Elite Cohesion: The five major political parties in Israel are Kadima, Labor, Likud, Shas and Yisrael Beytenu. Recently, many democracies in the world including Israel have adopted electoral systems that involves an assortment of hybrids of the opposite plurality and proportional principles. This mixed-member electoral system employs half of the seats in a legislative chamber which are then nominated in single-seat districts. The remaining half seats are elected from party lists that the proportional representation system allocates. The distinguishing feature of a mixed member electoral system is that it mixes principles in the same chamber. However, it is not always necessary that such a system would display a half majoritarian or half proportional structure. There are several countries where the electoral systems employ majoritarian formulas in a few parts and in the other parts, proportional representation is used. Some systems use formulas that are semi-proportional such as the single nontransferable vote and the limited vote. Israel, which is known to have the most extreme electoral system has an adopted direct election of the prime minister. However, in doing so, it did not reject its large-district PR system for parliamentary elections[footnoteRef:4]. [4: Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg, eds., Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: the Best of Both Worlds?(New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2003), pageNr.]

For example, the PR system is known to diminish the political energies of Israel where it has been practiced for decades. The proportional representation system has not only upset long-term planning, debilitated the financial system and radicalized the territorial quarrels and clashes, but has also made the financial plans unfocused and has greatly interrupted the actions of the government. In addition to this, this system also has the tendency to distract the cabinets, weaken the prime ministers and political figures, and destabilized the governments. This unique electoral system has been a facilitator in assisting the indeterminate, amateurish, incompetent and ineffective individuals to attain powerful, dominant, influential and responsible positions. The proportional representation system also has the affinity to create differences between the executive and legislative branches of government and deform their association. Israel is the best example again in this regard as history reveals that all this has happened within the Israeli territory. The political arena in Israel has been outstandingly but disappointingly populated by the ordinary, dull, and monotonous; as a replacement for the competent, talented, sincere, and enigmatic politicians who justly deserve the commanding positions. For all the countries where the proportional representation system is being used, it is advised that they must ponder over their political imperfections change the electoral system that has been a main contributor for the crisis of leadership and governance in their countries[footnoteRef:5]. Despite differences in their policies regarding the regulation of military, economy and society in Israel, the mentioned parties are strongly united when it comes to the issue of Palestine and its occupation. As far as the Israel-Palestine case is concerned, the conflict revolves around the establishment of an independent, self-sustaining Palestinian state. The Israelis and Palestinians need to understand the chances and obstacles of this conflict to agree on a unanimous decision. [5: Asa-El, a. "Israel's Electoral Complex." Azure - Ideas for the Jewish Nation. http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=419 (accessed June 9, 2013).]

National Goals: The PLO wants the establishment of an autonomous and self-governing state on the whole of the Palestinian Territories that Israel had invaded in 196. These territories include East Jerusalem (Al-Quds), the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. On the contrary, Israel has two agendas. It not only wants to maintain its rule over relatively absolute parts of the Palestinian Territory but also wants to limit and curb the dominion and autonomy of the Palestinian State. Despite the fact that a compromise can be reached between the two opponents, both the foes find it really hard to mutually agree on a point[footnoteRef:6]. It is crystal clear that it is not the Israel and its people who are the blameless and innocent victims of Palestinian and Arab attack, hostility and continuous terror campaigns. Instead, it is the Palestinians whose homeland has been seized and taken over by another people[footnoteRef:7]. [6: Beck, M. "Prospects for and Obstacles to Achieving a Viable Palestinian State: What Can an Actor with Inferior Power Capabilities Do in a Graduated Prisoner's Dilemma?." Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies. ialiis.birzeit.edu/fmru/userfiles/Prospects-for-and-obstacles-to-acheiving.pdf (accessed June 8, 2013).] [7: Thomsen, M.. "A Word of Truth on Behalf of the Palestinian Marginalized and Dispossessed: Root Causes of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict." Christian Zionism. www.christianzionism.org/Article/Thomsen01.pdf (accessed June 8, 2013).]

Societally, Israelis must dig the real reason behind the Israel-Palestinian conflict and look at both Judaism and Islam and what the two Abrahamic religions say about the holy land and the two peoples. At one side, Jews have a firm belief that God gave them His word that they would have the possession of the land of honey and milk (Palestine) after their liberation from slavery. Their other belief is also a religious one that their holy temple was situated in Jerusalem where now the Aqsa mosque is located. The Arabs, on the other hand, regard Palestine as their holy land granted them by God. The roots of the conflict are linked with the struggle between Abraham's children, Isaac and Ishmael. These two prophets are the fathers of both Jews and the Arabs. The situation requires deep understanding.

Militarily, Israel has to rise as it has always been dependent on a foreign superpower so that its existence could be supported. Previously, the British Empire and the League of Nations were always present for Israel to back it up for its forceful occupation of Arab land. When their support wasn't enough, the Israeli government turned to the United States of America. The U.S.A. government is still supporting Israel unconditionally even in the economic matters. Even the United Nations has failed to be neutral and supports Israel and its people. These Christian forces also maintain the same belief that there is undoubtedly a primordial connection between God, Jews and Palestine. Another cause of the conflict is the continuous reiteration of the inhabitants of the pro-Israel that the Jewish State has every right to exist. Most of the Christian countries favor Israel's existence over the right of a Palestinian State's existence. Jimmy Carter, the 39th U.S. President, said that it is necessary to demilitarize the Palestinian state so that Israel's right to exist cannot be threatened. The supporters of Israel believe in the de-militarization of Palestine even though Israel is a far more powerful nuclear military state.

National Issues: It is crystal clear that the influential and authoritative military valor and worldwide political skill of the British Empire, the League of Nations, the U.S.A., the UN and Zionist terrorism supported Israel in its creation. Both Israelis and Palestinians are extremely nationalistic people and this nationalism augments the conflict between them. The Jews and Arabs inhabiting Israel and Palestine firmly believe in their history, religion, language and race etc. Some believe that nationalism only occurs in states where democracy is practiced. However, in case of Palestine, the notion proves wrong because the Palestinians, without having a democratic state of their own, portray intense form of nationalism[footnoteRef:8]. Thus, the main national issue again is the settlement between Israelis and Palestinians as this issue hinders the economic, political and communal progression in the country. [8: "nationalism from the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.." Questia. http://www.questia.com/read/1E1-natlism/nationalism (accessed June 9, 2013).]

Robustness of Israel's Governing Institutions: It is really complicated to reach at a point of agreement in dilemma situations. If seen from… [END OF PREVIEW]

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