May 27, 2011
On May 26, 2011, The Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI) hosted a meeting with the Knesset’s Chairman of the Governance Committee, Minister Israel Katz, as well as Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauzer, and members of “The Forum for Government Stability.” The Forum was established by CECI, an apolitical, non-profit organization founded by Izak Parviz Nazarian, which promotes education of democracy and leadership, government stability and good citizenship. Meeting participants included: Izak Parviz Nazarian, Michael Strauss, Amos Shapira, Ron Nachman, Galia Albin, Dan Halutz, MK Einat Wilf, and many others.
Minister Katz briefed the Forum about the issues his Committee has discussed. These issues include: examining the presidential system, raising the electoral threshold (i.e. voter’s threshold), considering the head of the larger party to serve as Prime Minister, the definition of elected representatives vs. appointed ones, and the number of MKs needed to dissolve the government.
Minister Katz stated that the Committee desires the Prime Minister to be able to operate without constraints and the Ministers to be able to implement the policies they’ve decided upon. This would create a climate for a more powerful and stable government. Katz contemplated that for some issues, such as raising the electoral threshhold and the required number of MKs needed to dissolve the government when a “vote of confidence” is necessary, there is a possibility to get a majority vote and thus a real chance to execute changes which will contribute to a better functioning government system.
Izak Parviz Nazarian, President and Founder of CECI, voiced concern about Israel’s political instability, while expressing hope that the Knesset’s Governance Committee will help lead to a real transformation of the government and election system.
Michael Strauss pointed out that the government system affects many areas of life. He gave an example of the educational system, which has undergone numerous reforms, but none have been implemented. Amos Shapira, Cellcom’s CEO, added that the problem is not the fault of the leaders, but of the system. If the government is not stabilized today, tomorrow will be too late.
Ron Nachman, Ariel’s Mayor, introduced the Municipal Electoral System as stable and effective, and he added that local Authorities are the “operational arms” of the Executive Authority. He strongly recommended that the government adopt a similar system.
According to CECI’s General Director Yuval Lipkin, “Together with the Governance Committee, the purpose of this meeting is to promote government stability. The problem of governance has become the biggest enemy of Israeli democracy, and it affects all aspects of life for every resident in the country. Long-term programs are not promoted, and sometimes they are not planned at all, simply because the Ministers are replaced so quickly without completing important reforms in health, education, and, in fact, any field.”
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