How to fix Israel’s elections
Regarding “Political Fluidity in Israel” (Editorial, May 18):
No Israeli party has ever held a majority on its own. In Israel’s early days, when the largest party often held 50 or more seats, coalitions of two or three parties might control 70 or more seats. Such coalitions stood even if a few of its MKs decided to join the opposition.
Recent elections have not had any party with more than 30 seats, resulting in coalitions composed of many small parties having 61 seats between them, with the coalition always in danger of being toppled. Such governments tend to move (too quickly?) to get their agendas passed. The problem can be corrected only by enacting electoral reform.
Parties should be required to publish their platforms and participate in pre-election debates. The debates should be followed by polling, with parties deemed unlikely to pass the election threshold required to sit out the current election but permitted to try again in subsequent elections. This should produce stable governments able to work for the good of the people
Toby F. Block, Atlanta
Birthright in a Classroom
Regarding “Helping Supplementary Jewish Education” (Editorial, May 18):
The statistic that “total enrollment in North American Jewish supplementary schools dropped by a whopping 45%” in the 14 years between 2006 and 2020 is both shocking and ominous in terms of the continuation of a vibrant and vital American Jewish community.
Although the “412 Project” initiative of training hundreds of new early childhood Jewish educators is certainly a good start, much more needs to be done to reverse the steep decline in enrollment and the resulting closure of hundreds of Jewish supplementary schools.
In my opinion, two other initiatives need to be undertaken to reverse these negative trends:
First, Jewish supplementary schools must involve each student’s parents more directly in the classroom setting as, for example, by holding a number of joint family sessions each semester, where both parents and their children are educated about, and discuss, the parent-child relationship in the context of Jewish family traditions.
Second, curricula must be updated to give more priority to Jewish history, Zionism and the more recent history of Israel as a Jewish state. In this vein, as statistics consistently show, participants in the well-known Birthright Israel program are much more likely to be involved in the Jewish community upon their return to the U.S. than are non-participants, and are more likely to avoid intermarriage and raise a Jewish family steeped in Jewish traditions.
Marc Caroff, Virginia Beach