د. عبد الفتاح ماضي الأحد، 16 كانون1 / ديسمبر 2012 20:45
الدين والسياسة في إسرائيل: دراسة في الأحزاب والجماعات الدينية في إسرائيل ودورها في الحياة السياسية، القاهرة: مكتبة مدبولي، 1999 (618 صفحة).
Religion and Politics in Israel: A Study of the Religious Parties and Groups in Israel and their Role in Political Life (Madbouli Library, Cairo: Egypt, 1999). 618 pages (in Arabic)
- دراسة نقدية لمؤشرات قياس الديمقراطية في إسرائيل، مجلة (Democratization)، مجلد 13، عدد 2، أبريل 2006. بالإشتراك مع دين مكهنري، ص:257-282. (باللغة الإنجليزية)
A Critique of Quantitative Measures of the Degree of Democracy in Israel- with Dean McHenry
Democratization, U.K. Vol. 13, No. 2 (April 2006), pp. 257-282.
The question addressed in this study is: “How accurate and meaningful are quantitative measures of the degree of democracy in Israel?” With the increasing use of such measures in studies of democracy, an answer to this question becomes increasingly important. The Freedom House and Polity IV measures of democracy in Israel contend that there is a very high level of democracy, but their characterization is sharply contradicted by the views of many scholars. In seeking to account for this contradiction, we will assess the accuracy and meaningfulness of the two quantitative measures. We find that both empirical and conceptual problems affect the utility of the measures. Empirical inaccuracies are suggested by three findings: the role in Israel’s democracy of the largest minority group, the Israeli Arabs, is ignored, or substantially discounted; the discrepancies between the two indices suggest that at least one of them is not accurately capturing empirical reality; and, neither index seems very sensitive to democracy-related events in the country. The degree to which these empirical findings are indicators of inaccuracies is dependent upon the conceptualization of democracy. Conceptually, the indices differ from each other and from the concepts used by many others who examine Israeli democracy. Two conclusions are reached: The indices measure imperfectly what they call Israeli “democracy.” Furthermore, a prima face look at the scores characterizing democracy in other countries suggests that the “democracy” they measure in Israel is not the same as the “democracy” they measure elsewhere. The implications are several: On the academic side, the accuracy of general knowledge developed using these measures becomes questionable. On the practical side, the indices contribute little to knowledge that may be applied to overcoming the complex problems democracy in Israel is facing or the building of democracy in other countries of the Middle East. Thus, their accuracy and meaningfulness is quite limited.
Key words: Israeli democracy, democracy measures, critique of quantitative indices, Israeli Arabs