On Thursday, February 17, 2011, CECI’s Forum For Government Stability hosted an important gathering with former Minister of Interior, Rabbi Aryeh Deri, and other government representatives.
Participants at the meeting included: CECO of Cellcom — Amos Shapira, former Director of Israeli National Security Council — David Ivry, Executive Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace — Dov Lautman, former Israeli Ambassador — Uri Lubrani, attorney — Shlomo Cohen, former Cabinet Secretary — Israel Maimon, businesswoman — Galia Albin, former senior advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon — Dr. Raanan Gissin, and many others.
David Ivry addressed a few significant points from the Megidor Commission (spearheaded by CECI):
1. Raising the voters’ threshold.
2. Head of the biggest party will be chosen as the Prime Minister.
3. Regional elections
4. Norwegian Law
Rabbi Aryeh Deri expressed his support for these proposals, but he mentioned he does not believe in regional elections.
He urged that social pressure needs to be exerted on members of the Knesset and major parties long before elections occur in order to bring about reform. Overall, he does not support small cosmetic repairs to the electoral system, but rather, he advocates a thorough change of the system. He added that we do have “Basic Law” and as such, he does not believe that creating a Constitution is the answer for securing the necessary changes. Rabbi Deri emphasized the importance of these points:
1. Direct election of the Prime Minister.
2. Raising the voters’ threshold significantly.
3. Prime Minister should be able to select his government without the approval of the Knesset.
4. Knesset members should serve a full term (four years).
5. Ministers should be professionals in the field they serve.
The General Director of The Citizens’ Empowerment Center, Yuval Lipkin, commented: “The problem of governance has become the biggest enemy of democracy, and it affects every citizen in the country. Long-term programs are not promoted, and sometimes, they are not planned at all, simply because the Ministers are replaced too quickly to complete their plans for security, health, education, etc. Additionally, elected officials are forced to deal with campaigning for new elections every two years, instead of serving the general public’s interest. We need to change the electoral laws in this Knesset’s term and formulate a legislation for a more effective system of government before it’s too late.”