The Politics of Regime Structure Reform in Democracies

Israel in Comparative and Theoretical Perspective

By Gideon Rahat

Subjects: Israel Studies, Democracy, Comparative Politics
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791473504, 354 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791473498, 354 pages, February 2008

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Table of contents

List of Tables
List of Abbreviations


1. Stability and Reform of the Regime Structures of Established Democracies


The Politics of Electoral Reform in Israel

2. The Electoral System, 1948–1969: A Brief Historical Overview

3. The Politics of Electoral Reform, 1969–1977: The Failure to Promote Compromise

4. The Politics of Electoral Reform, 1984–1990: From (Knesset) Electoral Reform to Government System Reform

The Politics of Government System Reform in Israel, 1988–1992

5. Long-Term Developments, Catalyzing Events, and the Reform Initiative

6. The Actors

7. The Stages of the Reform Process and Overcoming the Barriers


Reform of Regime Structures of Established Democracies in Historical and Cross-National Comparative Perspectives

8. The Israeli Case Studies in a Historical-Comparative Perspective

9. The Politics of Regime Structure Reform in Established Democracies: A Cross-National Comparative Perspective

Author Index
Subject Index

Analyzes initiatives aimed at reforming the electoral and government systems of Israel in comparison to other established democracies.


This book examines the success or failure of initiatives aimed at reforming regime structures in democracies, particularly their electoral and government systems. Through a comparative analysis of the several attempts at this type of reform in Israel over more than four decades, Gideon Rahat begins with the failed attempts at electoral reform in the 1970s and 1980s. He then analyzes Israel's successful attempt at promoting government system reform from 1988 to 1992. Finally, he compares the Israeli cases to cases of electoral reform in New Zealand, Japan, and Italy in the 1990s. While the book focuses on the Israeli cases, it places Israel within a comparative framework and makes an important contribution to the debate concerning the politics behind regime structure reform.

Gideon Rahat is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


"Thoroughly researched and carefully analyzed, this impressive piece of scholarship on party systems and electoral reform will be invaluable for academics, politicians, and policy makers working in this field. For scholars of Israel especially, this book will play an important role in explaining the country's unique electoral history and its various experiments with electoral reform." — John C. Courtney, author of Elections

"Rahat finds just the right balance between the larger theoretical and comparative questions and an informed, detailed analysis of the Israeli experience. This is no simple accomplishment, and he is to be congratulated on the achievement." — Asher Arian, author of Politics in Israel: The Second Republic, Second Edition