The Knesset is in dire need of reform. Departing from its original practice, the Knesset established an electoral barrier of 2.5 percent. Nothing in political philosophy supports such a restriction, which shuts out minority groups and violates the fundamental principle of “one citizen, one vote.” The barrier bars small right-wing parties from the Knesset, and shockingly redistributes their votes to other parties, often of opposite views. Jews who live in outposts may vote for the Jewish National Front Party, but their votes end up divided between Avodah, the Arab parties, and similarly disgusting entities. The electoral barrier makes representation inherently impossible: how can the Labor Party honestly represent the interests of outpost settlers?

Supporters of the electoral barrier claim it prevents fragmentation of the Knesset, but what’s wrong with that? The Knesset is just as fragmented as the society itself. Managing a fragmented Knesset is more difficult than managing one composed of a few large parties, but it should be illegal to manage and manipulate the Knesset in the first place. In a highly fragmented Knesset, there would be no Shas problem—a single small party which forms or breaks coalition governments. There will be many such small parties, and coalitions will be more stable, rather than less. The smaller the average size of its components, the more stable a system is.

The Knesset should move for the ultimate fragmentation by disbanding party lists. It is the apotheosis of foolishness to vote for a party list whose members are hardly known to the public. The party-list system is open to abuses; it invites donors and loyalists rather than wise public figures. Most of the list members would never get into the Knesset on their own. Moreover, the party system shuts out of the Knesset many reputable people who can win local (majoritarian) elections but cannot prevail against well-financed parties. The faction discipline makes list-voting a sham: what is a point of having a number of Knesset members if all of them must vote unanimously on matters of importance to their party? In such a case, let’s elect one member from each party, call the Knesset a Council of Crooked Elders, and allocate each member a voting power based on his electoral success: 22 percent to Olmert, 15 percent to Barak, etc. There is no need for the ballast MKs.

Nationwide elections of individual MKs would make a better system. Each individual should run separately. He may use his party’s or anyone else’s support, but citizens have to vote for him or her personally. Such elections would turn the Knesset of crooks and liars into a meeting place of well-known, respectable people.

The crowning jewel of the Israeli voting system should be the electoral contract. It was sickening to see Rabin, Barak, Netanyahu, and Sharon renege on their campaign promises. We voted for Sharon because he ridiculed the proponents of disengagement from Gaza; he had no mandate for disengagement. It is important that all candidates publish their explicit electoral promises. Once those promises are reneged upon, they must be liable to immediate impeachment by the court. No excuses, no force majeure. They were elected specifically to realize their promises, not because they are nice guys and gals—they are not.

Even democracy can work, but there is no democracy in Israel.