Amid a prolonged regime-political crisis, the dissolution of the 24th Knesset, and a fifth round of elections within two years, Zulat for Equality and Human Rights published a report titled, Pseudo Democracy: State of the Regime in Israel.
In order for the character of the regime not to hinge primarily on the democratic or authoritarian leanings of any particular prime minister, Zulat has drafted a series of legislative initiatives and bills which, if passed, may strengthen its democratic components. These join other proposals authored by our institute, which are intended to anchor the principles of democracy in the State of Israel.
The need for these proposals is underscored by the findings of the report, whereby Israel has never been a model of liberal democracy. From its early days, its regime has been a hybrid of both democratic and authoritarian components, which at different periods has tilted toward one of those extremes.
The democratic crisis in Israel did not begin only because of this or that prime minister, but evolved as a result of historical, political, social, and economic circumstances in the domestic and international arenas since the establishment of the state. The report shows how prime ministers abused these special circumstances to run the state’s affairs in authoritarian ways, which included undemocratic legislative and institutional steps that broke the “rules of the game.”
Zulat’s legislative proposals are therefore intended to deal with the authoritarian foundations of the regime, as well as to prepare for the mounting dangers in recent years. They are based on the concept that a democratic regime must allow for the existence of a civil public space free of governmental intervention, as well as to respect and protect a range of basic human and civil rights that allow citizens to contemplate their choice of representatives and lifestyle.
Zulat believes that our initiatives and proposals, primarily those dealing with the core democratic components of our regime, merit an open and in-depth public debate, given that optimal transparency and fairness is attained when political parties declare their intentions before Election Day to enable voters to make their choice at the ballot box.
Therefore, Zulat proposes that political parties incorporate these bills, or the principles and ideas contained therein, in their political platforms and pre-election declarations of intent.