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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is Democracy Best For Everyone?

By: Jessica Lerner

Due to the downfall of the Tunisian and Egyptian governments and the protests in Iran, Israel fears for its stability. Many citizens are glad of the step towards democracy in Tunisia, but if other Arab countries follow suit and rebel against their oppressors, it may cause future problems down the line for Israel.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said, “If the current Tunisian regime collapses, it will not affect Israel’s present national security in a significant way. But we can, however, assume that these developments would set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.”
Shalom also added that if democracy was to replace the oppressive governments of Israel’s neighboring countries, the national security of Israel might be negatively affected and possibly threatened.
According to Dan Brosgol, the
In 1947, Great Britain handed over the power to make decisions about the state of Israel to the United Nations. A partition plan was drawn up, which divided Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state, with Jerusalem being an international zone. 
            In the cut-up map of Palestine, the areas were divided where the Arabs and Jews were most populous. Many Jews agreed with the partition plan while the Arabs opposed it. There, of course, were the radical Jews who opposed it as well.
            The United Nations took it to a vote, where the final result was 33 to 13 in favor of the partition plan, just barely reaching two-thirds of the votes. What is incredible is that both the US and the USSR voted in favor of a Jewish state, even though they were fighting against each other in the Cold War.
            The Jews had the legality to declare a Jewish state, but if they did so, they faced war from the Arab countries. They decided to declare Israel a Jewish state because if they did not, then they may never get the chance. This act caused Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia to declare war on Israel.
            This became known as the Israel War of Independence. Egypt, Syria, and Jordan invaded Israel, but in the end, Israel was victorious. Israel captured land, creating a bigger Jewish state while the surrounding Arab countries absorbed the rest of the partition plan’s Arab state. The Arab state was now gone.
            The Israeli-Arab Conflict has since escalated through time. From the Six-Day War to the Yom Kippur War, Israel has faced threats from the surrounding Arab countries. It is no wonder that Israel fears for its stability due to the overthrow of Arab governments. The turmoil in the Middle East, including the problems in Tunisia, is not helping.  
After a month long protest for the replacement of the then-ruling Tunisian power, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), the Tunisian President of twenty-three years fled to Saudi Arabia. On Monday, January 17, a new government was established.
 When former President Zine El Adibine Ben Ali came into power in 1987, he promised “greater democratic openness and respect for human rights.”
However, even though these ideas were promised, citizens did not really have political freedom; the government restricts freedom of speech and association as well as freedom of press. The “respect for human rights that was promised […] is still ineffective as there are commonly reports of abuse and torture used on prisoners.”
            During the rule of former President Zine El Adibine Ben Ali, there was only the ruling power of the RCD in charge. Upon fleeing, he has been temporarily replaced by Parliament Speaker Fouad Mebazza as interim President.
            There should be elections within the next two months, according to the Tunisian Constitution. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has been asked by Mebazza to create a new unity government, which should include the members from the Opposition
Now, there are three members from the RCD party that are a part of the ruling government as most kept their jobs when the former president fled.
            Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Tunisian government to restore the government as soon as possible. Clinton has also expressed that the US is willing to help establish this new regime as well as provide assistance.
            Our country is democratic as well as many others in the world, but is it always for the best?

Executive Director of Kesher Newton, a frequent writer for JewishBoston.com, and a teacher at Hebrew College, the problem is that due to the abrupt change from autocracy to democracy, the citizens will vote in the most popular party whose intentions are not clear, but could be corrupt and tyrannical, which would harm Israel.

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