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Why Israel’s democracy is weakening

Israel gets to keep its rating in democracy indices only because countries like the United States, Hungary and Turkey are losing index points.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during a joint statment with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem,  July 19, 2018.  Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters - RC13AF3278D0
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The two main indices of democracy worldwide are those of The Economist and of Freedom House. The Israeli right claims that the country’s ranking in these indices has been stable for many years now. In reality, both indices place Israel in the third rank of democracies, i.e., democratic states overall, but in which democracy is flawed. Ostensibly, there is no shame in this ranking, which has recently come to include US President Donald Trump’s America.

On Oct. 3, right-wing affiliated Yisrael HaYom newspaper published a report that Israel’s democratic ranking has stabilized further and even improved. As a result, it seems that claims among the left that the most basic characteristics of democracy have deteriorated under the current right-wing government have no leg to stand on.

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