It is only natural to dismiss any high expectations from these elections in Israel. Now we all know the story. Israel’s political life is so fragmented that building long-term functionable ruling coalitions is almost impossible. When the process of endless compromises end the result is always a weak government not only unable to carry a visionary foreign policy but often incapable even solving trivial domestic daily issues.
It is hard to find another country in the world that has a political scene more representative of its nation’s niches of interests. However, 18 parties sharing 120 seats in the Knesset is just too many for a country of this size. Actually, 18 is too many for a country of any size.
Israel does not need so many parties. They may be serving particular groups with some issues but they are making a bigger disservice to their own constituency by fragmenting the national political scene of the country.
Can this electoral system change, by including elements of the majority system (choosing candidates not only parties) or/and maybe raise the bar a bit so not everyone with a bunch of votes gets in Knesset?
I am not sure whether this is the moral thing to do in Israel today, but it certainly is the practical choice. Israel needs a solid government and the coming years are bound to be troubling for the entire world, with the economy gloomy perspective, the Iran dilemma, the post-American Iraq etc.
This has nothing to do with SHAS making impossible for Livni to govern. With fewer parties in parliament, different interests groups will be more inclined to create their friends and allies within the main parties rather than run to create one of their own and complicate farther the situation in Israel.