Asher Arian and Michal Shamir,
"Candidates, Parties and Blocs: Israel in the 1990s,"
Party Politics, 7 (November 2001), 689-710.
Political systems change, and they change in complex ways.
Just as a range of factors affects the decision of the
individual voter, myriad forces drive the transformation of
a society and its political system. The rule of the game may
be altered; new groups of voters may emerge; international
or economic shifts may present new challenges. Were one to
seek an apt site and an appropriate setting to study these
matters, the choice of the 1999 elections in Israel would be
Table 1: Knesset election results 1949-99: fragmentation,
competitiveness, blocs. p. 692
Table 2: Logistic regressions: prime ministerial candidate/
right-left bloc, 1981-99 p. 696
Table 3: Thermometer scores- parties and candidates p.
Table 4: Left-right identification (in %) 1962-99 p.
Israeli democracy has witnessed the imperfect dissolution of
major institutions, while the media-driven increased
personalization of politics has fostered the dominance of a
political center, peopled by potential prime ministers but
not by political parties. Organizations of control have been
eclipsed; individuals of previously dominant groups are
still in control, but the trends toward personalization
underscore the expression of a new Israeli liberalism. This
liberalism champions individual rights and the courts,
leaving weaker groups doomed to pursue their quest in the
back corridors of coalition bargaining. Dominant groups will
generate candidates to appeal to the center of the
electorate for the now personalized and less encumbered
office of prime minister; in the meantime, the tensions
between sectarian and universalistic demands will likely
grow if they remain unresolved.