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April 06, 1990 - Image 41

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Is Ilss
MoiE
SAE UP TO 4C%

the bankruptcy of the cur-
rent political system and the
urgent need for reform.
In principle, both the
Likud and Labor are corn-
mited to electoral reform,
and the Knesset has estab-
lished a committee, under
the leadership of Labor's
Gad Ya'akobi, to study the
matter. But both major par-
ties are unwilling to push for
change for fear of offending
small Orthodox parties who
oppose direct elections.
Under the present system,.
Knesset members are
selected on a nation-wide,
proportional ballot.
Not all the small parties
are against change. In an
unusual coalition, the right-
wing Tzomet party and the
left-wing Shinui faction
have combined forces to
push for reform. This week
they appealed to Yitzhak
Shamir and Shimon Peres to
convene the Knesset, cur-
rently on its Passover recess,
in order to revise the elec-
toral system. "The Israeli
public is fed up with the pre-
sent form of government, in
which Rabbi Schach has the
decisive voice," the parties
said in a joint statement
issued in Jerusalem.
There is good evidence
that the advocates of reform
are correct in their reading
of the public mood. On Mon-
day, the Israeli afternoon
newspaper Ma'ariv publish-
ed the results of a poll, show-
ing that 72 percent of the
voters favor a special session
of the Knesset that would
change the system and lead
to direct election of the
prime minister. Only 15 per-
cent — roughly the percen-
tage of religious voters —
were opposed. Curiously,
support for reform was
almost equal among Likud
and Labor voters.
Avi Kadish and his hunger
strikers are hoping to tap
into this angry, bipartisan
mood in order to force Labor
and Likud politicians to act
according to the wishes of
their constituents. Their
model is the protest, led by
another reserve officer,
Motti Ashkenazi, after the
Yom Kippur War. In 1984,
that protest helped bring
down the government of
Golda Meir. This week,
Ashkenazi visited the
strikers' tent and offered
them encouragement.
"Today there are only a few
of you," Ashkenazi told them.
"But this kind of action
builds momentum."



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43

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