MembersDemocracy in a Pickle

Israel’s “democracy on steroids” is starting to reveal its flaws, and a third election in less than a year is now conceivable

Photo: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL

Israel is often hailed for having such an open democracy, sometimes described as hyper-democracy, or “democracy on steroids.” But there are unique risks to operating that way, and problems that look to have no solutions are starting to rear their heads.

Already this year, Israelis have been subjected to not one, but two elections. And there is no guarantee that there won’t be a third, given the deadlocked election results. As we go to press, the make-up of Israel’s next government is still anyone’s guess. Below are just a few of the interesting developments that contribute to what is becoming an intractable political situation:

Cult of personality: Israeli elections used to be relatively easy to explain to a foreign audience because they revolved primarily around issues like security and the peace process, issues to which the international community is party. But today’s elections have much more to do with the local personalities involved, and outside of Israel, few people are well acquainted with any of the actors besides Benjamin Netanyahu. Massimo Lomonaco, local bureau chief with the...

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