Over the years, the Israeli government kept raising the electoral threshold, under the misguided impression that this would create more stability and less horse trading when it came to forming a coalition. Israeli governments are created by forming a majority block in the Knesset between the various parties who make up the coalition.
The assumption was, the fewer small parties there were in the Knesset, the easier it would be to form a coalition.
The effect it had was the exact opposite.
It created a situation where small and mid-sized parties held all the keys to creating and maintaining any coalition, and were able to disproportionately extort the senior coalition partner for ministerial positions and other promises.
Furthermore, it also damaged Israel’s democracy by not recognizing otherwise valid votes that should have resulted in representation in the Knesset for their voters.
Polls currently show that Shas and Liberman’s party are unlikely to pass the current threshold levels in the next election. Both those parties have typically been reliable allies for the Likud. Ironically, Liberman has been the biggest advocate for raising the threshold even higher.
PM Netanyahu has called for a meeting with all the coalition heads this coming week, to discuss reducing the electoral threshold level.