Cohen, Nissim. “Solving Problems Informally: The Influence of Israel’s Political Culture on the Public Policy Process.” In Public Administration and Policy in the Middle East (ed. Alexander R. Dawoody; New York: Springer, 2015), 231-45.
This chapter describes and explains the informal influence of Israeli political culture on the public policy process. I will demonstrate how informal elements are rooted in Israeli society and are an integral part of its public policy and administration. Specifically, the chapter explains the impact of a particular type of political culture, called “alternative politics” in the Israeli literature, on public policy and institutional settings. Alternative politics is based on a “do-it-yourself” approach adopted by citizens to address their dissatisfaction with governmental services. When such a mode of political culture is diffused to all sectors and levels of society, all players, including bureaucrats and politicians, are guided by short-term considerations and apply unilateral strategies that bypass formal rules either through illegal activity or by marginalizing formal rules. Hence, the notion of alternative politics is not confined only to the Israeli experience, as elements of this issue emerge as part of the dialogue about political culture in Arab countries, as well as in other societies around the world.