Israeli Democracy under Pressure
In the latest HSFK-Standpunkt, Aviv Melamud shows how democratic principles are undermined by extreme legislation in the Knesset
Next year Israel’s democracy will celebrate its 65th anniversary. But the "only democracy in the Near East", as prime minister Netanyahu often describes Israel, is defined as a Jewish and democratic state – a democracy which is the home of the Jewish people. Israel thus is a pluralistic democracy, but not a truly secularised state. The Jewish religion is inextricably linked with the state. Already within the Jewish community this leads to conflicts among secularised, orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.
The situation is, however, especially problematical for the Palestinian-Arabic minority who stem about 20 % of Israel’s population. They reject the Jewish part of the definition of their state which again is perceived as suspicious by the Israelis. Taken together with the precarious security situation, politically radical positions are able to gain ground. In the current Knesset individual members fuel the conflict by introducing dubious bills to the parliament. Most of them are directed against the Arabic minority and unashamedly call basic democratic rights into question. Though most of these bills do not pass through the legislative process, they nevertheless contribute to dividing society and threaten its democratic basis.
In the new HSFK-Standpunkt 02/2012 "Die israelische Demokratie unter Druck - Wie demokratische Prinzipien durch nationalpopulistische Gesetzesvorschläge untergraben werden" (Israeli Democracy under Pressure. How democratic principles are undermined by extreme legislation), Aviv Melamud retraces this disastrous process.
This HSFK-Standpunkt is available as free PDF download.
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