You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Center for Israel Studies Challenges Facing Israel’s Democracy

How Many Elections Can Israel Handle?
Challenges Facing Israel’s Democracy Conference | November 13-14, 2022

In recent years, scholars, activists, and democracy watchdog organizations have expressed growing concerns about the fragility of Israeli democracy. An illiberal wave has swept much of the world, including Israel, as state institutions have come under attack by politicians who have increasingly resorted to divisive rhetoric, populist-nationalist policies, and the subversion of democratic norms. The polarization and splintering of the Israeli party system has led to five national elections in three-and-a-half years.

Is Israeli democracy in real danger or are the dire warnings an exercise in hyperbole? What measures might Israel take to strengthen and help to preserve its democracy? The conference addresses these and other related questions in what promises to be a thought-provoking series of panel discussions.


  • Center for Israel Studies
  • Cosponsored by American University School of International Service, American Univeristy School of Public Affairs, Americans for Ben-Gurion University, Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues, and Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Amy and Alan Meltzer and June and David Trone which made this conference possible.


November 13, Keynote 6:00 PM

The November 2022 Elections and the Future of Israeli Democracy
Aluf Benn, Editor-in-Chief, Haaretz

November 14

9:00-9:30 AM
9:30-11:00 AM
Panel 1: “Can Israel be Both Jewish and Democratic?”
Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler (Israel Democracy Institute (IDI))
Benny Brown (Hebrew University/IDI)
Morad Elsana (American University) 
Meital Pinto (Zefat Academic College School of Law)
Moderator: Michael Brenner (AU/Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich)
11:00-11:30 AM
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Panel 2: “The 2022 Knesset Elections — Post-Election Analysis”
Yifat Bitton (Achva Academic College/University of Chicago)
Anwar Mhajne (Stonehill College)
Gadeer Mreeh (Jewish Agency/ Former Member of Knesset)
Natan Sachs (Brookings Institution)
Moderator: Dan Arbell (AU)
1:00-2:30 PM
Boxed Lunch
2:30-4:00 PM
Panel 3: “What Does the Future Hold for Israeli Democracy?”
Guy Ben-Porat (Ben-Gurion University)
Nasreen Haddad Haj-Yahya (Portland Trust)
Michael Koplow (Israel Policy Forum)
Gayil Talshir (Hebrew University, UCLA)
Moderator: Guy Ziv (AU)
4:15-5:30 PM
"Israel's Democracy Challenges in the Global Context" Informal discussion and reception
AU students and speakers only