“Many voices in Israel understand democracy today in a narrow and minimal way. For them, democracy is just government by the majority.” This astute criticism was made Feb. 15 by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The main voice that the first citizen is referring to is that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rivlin's observation was prompted by a new bill Netanyahu is proposing that would allow the Knesset to expel its own members. The Israeli media refers to the legislation as the “suspension law,” rather than the more precise “expulsion law.”
The president noted that the bill “reflects a problematic understanding of what democracy is all about” and added that such an understanding of democracy is not only narrow, but “dangerous for the minority, for the opposition and for the individual, and in the end dangerous for the state.” Netanyahu’s response was not long in coming.