An Arab Israeli woman casts her vote during the 2009 elections. (Photo: Nati Shohat / Flash90) An Arab Israeli woman casts her vote during the 2009 elections. (Photo: Nati Shohat / Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot during the 2009 ekections. (Photo: Michal Fattal/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes. (Photo: Michal Fattal/Flash90)

While its political system may be in turmoil, Israel remains the only real democracy in the Middle East. Currently, the nation appears to be on its way to elections.

Is Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, preparing to dissolve itself and resort to new elections?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endured political strife during the past month, clashing with Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party on several issues. The disagreements primarily involve economic issues and government conduct.

These differences have led to personal acrimony and a general impasse between the two leaders, threatening the political coalition that serves as the foundation for the current Israeli government. With the coalition in jeopardy, it seems that Israel will be entering an campaign period in the near future, culminating in elections some time in March 2015.

Many of the political parties and leaders have already begun to prepare for elections, as Israel’s citizens prepare to participate in the nation’s robust democratic process.

Israel: The Middle East’s Island of Democracy

Israel’s 120 members of the Knesset (MKs) are directly elected by citizens to four-year terms, unless there is a call for early elections, which is quite common and currently looks imminent.

All Israeli citizens, regardless of race, religion or background, 18 years or older may vote in legislative elections, which are conducted by secret ballot. Even convicted felons have the right to cast their ballot in Israel.

A prisoner casts his ballot for the 2013 parliamentary election at Rimonim prison. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

A prisoner casts his ballot in 2013. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Anyone, with a few provisos related to criminal activity, can be elected to the Knesset, which represents all segments of Israeli society. In this body, Jews, Arabs, Druze and others come together to guide the country.

Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East in which all citizens can voice their opinion and influence leadership through a transparent, democratic process.

While a few other Middle Eastern countries have semi-democratic processes, they are not transparent or inclusive and are often rigged.

Israel’s citizens respect and embrace the democratic process, whereas many Arab countries experience havoc when rogue parties stage coups and replace existing governments with tyrannical and oppressive ruling bodies.

One good example of this is the the Gaza Strip. Hamas brutally overthrew the democratically elected Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in 2007 and has since established a strict, domineering government that shakes down its citizens on a regular basis. This situation has created constant instability, division among the Palestinians, and terror, threatening Israel’s citizens as well as the residents of Gaza.

The joint PA-Hamas government is funded by the US and the EU. We MUST end this. Click here to sign our petition demanding that the United States and European Union stop funding the Palestinian Authority.

Author: United with Israel Staff