6. Elections in Israel

This map shows the electoral districts of an independent Israel for the elections of her Constitutional Assembly (the forerunner of the Knesset) on 25th. January 1949. 509,567 people were entitled to vote and the turnout was 86%. David Ben-Gurion formed the first government in March. His Mapai party concluded a coalition with the United Religious Front, the Progressive Party, the Sephardim and Oriental Communities and the Democratic List of Nazareth. Israel thus became the first democratic country in the Middle East, in which the legislative, executive and judicial powers were separated. Every citizen is entitled to vote, irrespective of origin or faith, and all are also electable; the Knesset has proportional representation.

But to some extent Israel’s democracy has faltered. Because Orthodox and secular Jews could not agree there was to be no constitution. Great political instability is caused by continuously-changing coalitions. In addition, the Palestinian population, 20% of the total, is discriminated against. An important limitation lies in the electoral law which determines that any party which denies the ‘existence of Israel as the state of the Jewish people’ can be excluded from elections. And only Jews have the ‘right of return’.

Dr. Szapiro, Mappa mis. 7: Medinat Yisrael be-ma’aracha, Map no. 7: The state of Israel in the (electoral) battle, Tel Aviv 1949

Dr. Szapiro, Mappa mis. 7: Medinat Yisrael be-ma’aracha, Map no. 7: The state of Israel in the (electoral) battle, Tel Aviv 1949