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Ending the Israeli political deadlock Ending the Israeli political deadlock
by Joseph Gatt
2019-11-08 08:59:54
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Dear brothers and sisters,

Jewish, Arab Christian, Arab Sunni, Arab Shiite, Druze, Bedouin, Armenian, Baha'i, Circassian, Samaritan, Jewish Israelis with no religious affiliation who refuse to identify as Jewish and want to identify as Israeli, LGBTQ, workers, housewives, househusbands, students, soldiers and hipsters, dear Israeli brothers and sisters.

tel01_400The 3.6% threshold was meant to prevent smaller parties from joining the Knesset. It mainly targeted smaller Arab parties, who often deny the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, and who used to put on a show at the Knesset, and who often acted in outrageous ways.

But what the 3.6% threshold did was force parties to merge when they have nothing in common. As much as I don't want to marry a woman I have nothing in common with just to reach a financial threshold, I don't want politicians who have nothing in common joining forces just to reach an electoral threshold.

The Labor party has so many intruders in it that Labor Zionists no longer see their ideals in them. The far-left has so many intruders in it that far-left idealists don't see their voice projected in them. The conservative right-wing party has so many intruders in it that its members and followers no longer recognize them. And the Likud has so many intruders in it that all they can talk about is its accomplishments after 10 years as leaders of the coalition, as any hint of future legislation would cause internal strife.

And even the Arab list is so colorful that its members barely talk to each other, the Zionists would be called traitors by the Palestinian nationalists, while Zionists view Palestinian nationalists as a danger to Israel, yet they have to cohabitate in their party.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, rather than using a system where political parties seek to reach the threshold by inviting people to their parties they don't really like, we need a system where each party has its own views that it defends, and where members can have a cup of coffee and agree on pretty much everything. Right now political party members often barely talk to each other, and when they do, they might as well say “yes, no, yes, no.”

I want to marry the woman I love, I want to hang out with friends I love, I want to work with people I, at least, like. As much as I don't want a law stating that the household income should be 100,000 shekels a year for marriage to be allowed, or that you can only hang out with friends if your total income surpasses a million shekels a year, I don't want a law stating that you need 3.6 percent of the vote the enter the Knesset.

So 1.8 or 1.6% is more than enough. Yes, there might be a Holocaust denier or two that might make it to the Knesset. There might be Satan worshipers or Pirate party members in the Knesset. But the big picture will be people joining parties with people they can actually, at least, tolerate, if not celebrate.

So as a citizen of Israel, who like many of my brothers and sisters, risked their lives for our land (and I'm still risking my life for my promised land) I think we need a system where there can be at least an illusion of cohesion within parties and within the political system. I don't want my country to be ruled by people who can't get along within their own party, and who join political parties for convenience purposes.

I'm not starting a petition, but I'm asking the Knesset to consider a vote to bring back the 1.8 or 1.6% threshold. If there were a third election, I'm sure the third election will not end in divorce and lead to a fourth election.

Please at least consider the recommendations contained in this letter.

Patriotically yours,

Yossi Gatt

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