Updated 19 Mar 2023


"WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called 'Israel'." –Declaration of Independence


"A new constitution will tie the hands of the legislator." –David Ben Gurion

This is what the founders of the State of Israel wrote, and this is how the first Prime Minister justified his opposition to acting according to what they wrote.

As is known, the Constituent Assembly, when it failed to issue a constitution, declared itself the First Knesset, and to this day, the State of Israel does not have a constitution. There is a series of Basic Laws, which are sometimes treated almost as a constitution, but there is no constitution.

There have been attempts in the past to write a constitution for the State of Israel, but they have all failed. The reason for this, in my opinion, is an almost complete misunderstanding of the essence of what a constitution is.

Constitution derives from the word “constitute”. That is, how and what the government consists of. A constitution is supposed to be the definition of the government. It should not be a collection of lofty ideas and aspirations. Even in the United States, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, called the Bill of Rights, were not included in the original Constitution.

A constitution is not a weapon by means of which one side in a country can impose its position on another side.

Every attempt in Israel to write a constitution has run into intractable complications because of that mistake. There is not enough uniformity in Israel to write a constitution of ideals that will be acceptable to even the majority of the population. But if we separate the question of ideas and opinions from the definition of the government itself, if we focus on the definition of the government and nothing else, we may indeed be able to write a constitution that will grant stability and governance to our country. All other debates can continue, but against the background of a stable country.

There are quite a few countries with a constitution, but there is one that stands out for its stability, its checks and balances, and beyond all that, in its longevity. That is the Consitution of theUnited States.

Why has the United States Constitution lasted for so many years? In my opinion, the reason for this is not the division between three branches and the checks and balances between them, although this is a proper and desirable thing, and even a necessary one. The main reason is that the founders of the United States were afraid of the power of government and wanted to limit it as much as possible. To give the government only the powers necessary to it. It is true that as the years passed, their government slowly broke the boundaries of the founders' intentions, mostly because their constitution was built and suited to a smaller population, and as the population grew, the representation of the citizens was reduced. And when too many people are represented by one or two representatives, only the voices of the rich and cronies are heard. Today, the United States has about 763,000 citizens per representative (if we count both members of the House of Representatives and Senators).

The constitution that I will propose to you here is built on the framework of the American Constitution, but with adjustments for the many differences between them and the State of Israel, and also with changes that will provide us the possibility to prevent the failures that have befallen the Americans. I will explain the entire constitution, piece by piece, and section by section.

The most important – at least now – is its last part: This Constitution shall be ratified by the consent of the majority of all franchise-citizens living in the country, or by the vote of the majority of the members of the Knesset. In order to achieve this ratification, we must all, including me, including all of you, share the constitution with all our acquaintances and convince them to support it. The political system in Israel is a real shame, and there is no personal representation at all. Knesset members are only obligated to the central committee of their party, not to us, the citizens. There must be a way forward, and this is it.

 

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