Jewish Journal

English Language Social Order Magazine: Democracy and the Israeli Knesset

by Jeremy Elster

March 30, 2014 | 6:00 am

In this edition of the Social Order Magazine, we take you to the drama that unfolded on the Knesset floor prior to the close of the winter legislative session. Bibi's coalition government brought 3 controversial bills in a package deal for votes. The bills, in the order they were voted upon, are the Governability Law, the Referendum Law, and the Haredi Draft Bill. In a rare procedural move, the coalition limited time for discussion. In response, a unified opposition boycotted the votes.

The magazine begins by discussing the Governability Law, which raises the electoral threshold and adversely affects the ability of Arab Parties to secure seats in future Knessets. Israel Social TV asks, how are the Arab parties preparing for their political futures?

The second bill is the Referedum Law, which requires a popular vote in order to cede Israeli territory under a peace agreement. 

Next we look at the Haredi Draft Law, which eliminates a religious exemption for the Ultra-Orthodox from army service and replaces it with jail time for refusers. But what about secular Israeli citizens who refuse army service for ideological opposition to violence or occupation?

To conclude, we travel to Rabin Square. Last weekend, a group of Israeli activists organized a revival of the summer 2011 J14 Social Justice Protests. Did Israelis take to the streets to demonstrate for social and economic change?

Find answers to these questions in the third edition of the Israel Social TV Social Order Magazine.

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Jeremy Elster is a Southern Californian native and New Israel Fund/SHATIL Social Justice Fellow working as the International Communications Coordinator for Israel Social TV...

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