News from the Knesset in the last week raises myriad questions about democracy, and Israel Democracy Institute president Yohanan Plesner tries to provide answers.
This has been a thought-provoking week for Israeli democracy.
Last Thursday, JPost.com was the first non-Arabic news site to report, based on information from Palestinian Media Watch, that lawmakers from Balad, one of the parties making up the Joint (Arab) List, met with families of 10 terrorists – whose bodies are being held by the Israel Police because the families refuse to hold modest funerals to avoid incitement to violence – and stood in a moment of silence in memory of the “shaheeds” (martyrs in Arabic), while the party’s Facebook page referred to a particular terrorist, who killed three Israelis, as a shaheed.
This, like many other controversies involving Balad’s MKs Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka, led to Knesset members and commentators wondering about the limits of democracy, particularly of freedom of expression. Continue reading