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Maoz Rosenthal

The impact of Knesset committees’ involvement in public policymaking processes, whether handling legislation processes affecting public policymaking or handling oversight on government ministries affecting policy implementation and evaluation, is at

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Anat Maor

Very little research has been conducted on the functioning of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) in general and on private members' legislation in particular. This article contributes to the perception of the role of the legislator as political initiator in modern parliamentarism.

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Yechiam Weitz

This article deals with the disappearance of Menachem Begin, the leader and the chairman of the Herut movement and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983). He disappeared from the political arena for about half a year: from the defeat of his party in the elections of the Second Knesset (26 July 1951) until the debate in the Knesset about the reparations from West Germany. Four central topics will be discussed: (1) the reasons for his disappearance; (2) his whereabouts and activities during that period; (3) the reason for his return to the political arena and the connection between his return and the debate about the reparations; and (4) the significance of this story for Begin's biography.

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Benyamin Neuberger

This article explores the ideological underpinnings of the major Jewish political camps in Israel and the Yishuv—the left, the Orthodox, the national right, the bourgeois center—and evaluates the extent to which they are compatible with liberal democracy as commonly understood in the West. It also analyzes quasi-democratic and non-democratic aspects of older Jewish traditions based on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Halakhah. While the history of Zionism and the Zionist movement contained definite democratic components, Israel’s political system was shaped by a range of anti-democratic traditions whose resonance is still felt today.

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Yechiam Weitz

the 5th Knesset. The new party’s leaders believed they could provide an alternative to Mapai, which had dominated Israeli politics since 1948. The two parties had a combined total of 14 seats in the outgoing Knesset, and thus, as one party, it became

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Mordechai Kremnitzer and Shiri Krebs

Democracy is not just about free and fair elections. It requires at least some minimal substantial guarantees, such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, that formulate and enable free choice of autonomous and equal agents. These notions are well founded in Israeli constitutional law, but in recent years it seems that this basic understanding of the democratic process is weakening, especially as reflected in the actions of the Knesset. Several recent examples of Knesset legislation processes suggest that Israeli democratic culture is being eroded, as some of democracy’s fundamental notions are abandoned in favor of national-chauvinism and intolerance.

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Anat Herbst

This study applies critical discourse analysis to examine the relationship between the imagery and the legitimacy attached to single mothers, as well as the social policy designed for them. The correlation between images, legitimacy, and policy was examined during three decades (the 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s) of extensive legislation pertaining to single-parent mothers. The data have been drawn from a diversity of sources, including Knesset debates, Knesset committee discussions, women's organizations, the media, and semi-structured interviews. The study shows that welfare policy necessarily encapsulates cultural perceptions and basic assumptions pertaining to certain segments of society. These beliefs anchor justifications for the expansion or limitation of social rights and reveal how the development of social rights is linked to cultural and social apprehension.

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Yitzhak Navon

On 17 March 1996 the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed a law to set up two national authorities, one for Yiddish culture and the other for Ladino culture. Yiddish is a 1,000– year old language based on German with words and idioms from Hebrew, Aramaic and additional European languages. Ladino is approximately 500 years old and is based on Spanish, with words and idioms from Hebrew, Aramaic, Northern African languages, as well as Balkan languages and from other countries once under the domination of the Ottoman Empire.

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Jonathan Mendilow

In the Knesset elections of 2009, what lay in the balance were not only significant programmatic differences between the main parties but the center of gravity of the party system and the direction from which the country is to be governed. Nevertheless, the three major rivals conducted a valance competition appropriate for situations in which the parties are ideologically close, and no questions of magnitude hang in the balance. This resulted from an unspoken agreement about the use of "tacit issues": rewards of the competition that are understood by stalwarts, and toward the attainment of which the rivals direct their e orts, but that are not spelled out to the wider public. Consequently, the campaign was among the shortest and least substantive in the country's history, but its outcome may determine the ideological direction of the country, the shape and steering capacity of its government, and the fate of the party system for a long time to come.

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Sylvie Fogiel-Bijaoui

In 2010, the Knesset passed the Spousal Covenant Act, which enables Israelis 'lacking religious affiliation' to marry and divorce in Israel. Using the 'twin tolerations' theory, I present the process and the actors involved in the legislation, pointing out that in Israel the twin tolerations are reflected in the so-called status quo. On the basis of that analysis, I argue that the spousal covenant, initially aimed at solving the problem of all individuals forbidden to marry in Israel, but especially 'non-Halakhic' Jews from the FSU, ended up as a marginalizing law, excluding those non-Halakhic Jews from the Jewish-Israeli collective. I further argue that non-Halakhic Jews from the FSU no longer contest the Israeli religious regime of inclusion and instead use the 'established bypasses'—cohabitation and civil marriage abroad—both to get married and to be part of the national collective.