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Yael Yishai, "Bringing Society Back In: Post-Cartel Parties in Israel," Party Politics, 7 (November 2001), 667-687.

First Paragraph:
Understanding the relationship between society and political parties is crucial for the cognizance of processes taking place within both entities. In their seminal paper, published in 1995, Katz and Mair offered a key for such an understanding in the form of the cartel model. Three conditions were identifies as providing incentives to the emergence of cartel parties: a political culture marked by inter-party cooperation, a tradition of state-party rapprochement and a practice of party patronage (p. 17). Once established the cartel party is characterized by a shift of focus from civil society to the state. As suggested by the authors, 'the movement of parties from civil society towards the state could continue to such an extent that parties become part of the state apparatus itself' (Katz and Mair, 1995:14). The most noticeable precondition, and outcome, of this process pertains to the parties' financial resources. The shift from civil society to the state is feasible because parties found an alternative to membership dues. Cartel parties, furthermore, depend highly on state subventions on which they themselves decide. The heavy reliance on the state has implications, among other things, for the parties' organization, with growing professionalization and bureaucratization. The cartel generates a self-defensive mechanism enhanced by the predication of state subvention on prior electoral performance, the restriction of ballot access and the imposition of registration requirements. These procedures are expected to result in the exclusion of competitors and the consolidation of the existing power structure.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Budgetary balance of political parties (in million NIS) 1998-9 p. 677
Table 2: Number of parties in the Knesset 1949-99 p. 678

Last Paragraph:
To sum up, the return of society to the partisan arena reveals the pitfalls of the cartel. Allying with the state has not proved effective in terms parties' objectives. Perceived as archaic and stagnated institutions with a low prestige and declining legitimacy, parties had to cope with growing expenses, fiercer competition and declining fortunes. Civil society, on the other hand, enjoyed the halo of a grassroots activity, devoid of 'political' interests, a true manifestation of participant democracy. It constitutes the emblem of community life untarnished by dirty politics. Under these circumstances the return of civil society to the partisan scene seemed an inevitable consequence.