Israel Doesn’t Need More Political Parties, but Stability

January 12, 2021 | Jerusalem Post
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Since the news broke that there would be a fourth national election in March, several new political parties have emerged in the Jewish state: for Likudniks dissatisfied with Benjamin Netanyahu, there is New Hope; for retirees, there is Vatikim (“old-timers”); for disaffected members of the centrist Yesh Atid, there is Tnufa, unless they want to join the revived Telem faction, or the Economics party. Meanwhile, the longstanding alliance between the ḥasidic and non-ḥasidic ḥaredi parties may be about to crumble. All this bodes ill for the Jewish state, write the editors of the Jerusalem Post:

[The erstwhile Labor politician Ron] Huldai launched a political party named the Israelis. . . . Cynically, although the party is set to run in the March 23 election, the seventy-six-year-old Huldai did not give up the job he has held for the last 22 years as mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. What does this say about his seriousness and his intentions should he be elected an ordinary back-bench Knesset member rather than receiving a cabinet position as he obviously desires?

The greater the number of parties running on a center-left platform [endorsed by Huldai and some other new parties], the smaller their chances of passing the electoral threshold. In this case, the votes will have been wasted instead of going to a bloc with a chance of having some influence and making an impact.

If would-be politicians cannot find their place in a current party and therefore decide to establish a list of their own, it does not bode well for their chances to work productively in a future Knesset and government. Having too many small parties creates political instability and makes it difficult for a government to be able to do what it is elected to do: govern. This opens the door to political blackmail, not democratic plurality.

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