Monday, May 08, 2006

Constitution by Consensus

JPost is reporting that IDI (Israel Democracy Institute) has released a draft of what it believes should be Israel's Constitution. I have not been able to find a full text of that document, but I'm eager to read it. Israel needs a Constitution, for the same reason America and the rest of the world did; to show consensus on the form of Government. Israeli Democracy has issues.

It occurs to me that they've done nothing to fix a problem with the democratic nature of the country - namely the need to break Israel up into districts (similar to American States) so that parties with a few thousand votes don't get too much say in the government (I
blogged about that before). Nor does the Post mention anything about Amendments to this Constitution.

On the plus side, this Constitution bans torture and limits the number of ministers to 18. Two things that I think are crucial; a statement about the Death Penalty would be welcome too. However, that the Constitution "does not...specify which territory constitutes Israel" is problematic. It wasn't an issue for the US Constitution for it was an Union of sovereign states forming a more sovereign federal government. For Israel, the borders are an issue; one that needs to be in the Constitution. It was not up to these scholars what the borders should be, so the omission was probably pragmatic, but a clause stating the "final borders of the State of Israel will be decided by Amendment".

I wholeheartedly welcome the prospect of an Israeli Constitution, and this one sounds good. There are kinks to work out, but that's Democracy in action.


Clouds918 said...

Aaaaaaaactually, the document does indeed set forth a process of amendment. Check out Articles 179-184 at Also, the "Fundamental Human Rights" section -- -- makes for some absolutely fascinating reading, including a right to privacy and an explicit prohibition against disability discrimination.

Natan said...

Thanks for the links, I'm glad to see they're in there. Think this actually might happen?