The Fall of the 15th Knesset

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As the 15th Knesset adjourned and Israelis prepared to go to the polls for the third time in three and a half years, a growing sense of frustration with politics could be discerned in the Israeli public. Instability and paralysis seemed to characterize the Israeli political system more than anything else. Too many governments had come into power in the preceding years full of optimism only to come crashing down long before scheduled elections. The questions that had eclipsed all other political issues for 35 years --centering around what to do about Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and relations with the Palestinians--seemed as irresolvable as ever.

Concerns about corruption in the government intensified in the run-up to the 2003 Israeli elections, leading to the perennial subject of electoral reform being again raised in public discussions. But with no clear consensus emerging about the direction to be taken regarding electoral reform, most Israelis only expected more of the same.

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Ziv Hellman is a Jerusalem-based writer and mathematician. A former editor at the Jerusalem Post, Ziv was a founding member of Peace Watch--the watchdog group reporting on the implementation of the Oslo Agreements. He also led the Israeli elections observer team evaluating the Palestinian Authority elections.