Media Coverage of the 2006 Campaign: The Needs and Attitudes of the Public vis-àvis the Functioning of the News Media

Gabriel Weimann*, Yariv Tsfati, Tamir Sheafer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A democratic system is based on the participation of its citizens in the political process. Apathy on the part of citizens, their alienation from the political process, and mistrust of their political representatives constitute a dangerous corruption of any democratic regime. One of the accepted indices for assessing the extent of political involvement is voter turnout. Israel’s voter turnout rate in past Knesset elections reached high levels, placing Israel at the forefront of countries with high voter participation rates (in all eight election campaigns between 1949 and 1969 this rate exceeded 80 percent). With time, however, there has been a steady decline in this rate: in the elections for the Sixteenth Knesset in 2003 the voter turnout rate was only 67.8 percent (and only 63.2 percent in the prime ministerial election in 2001). The 2006 general election marked a low point, with a turnout of only 63.5 percent. This decline is not unique to Israel; there has been a steady drop in voting rates in many Western democracies, averaging slightly more than 1 percent from one election campaign to the next. The lowest point among Western democracies was reached in established democracies, such as Switzerland and the U.S., where voter turnout rates have fallen to around 54 percent. This drastic decline arouses concern, signaling a rise in the political alienation felt by citizens and the undermining of the essential infrastructure of participatory democracies.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Elections in Israel 2006
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781351321433
ISBN (Print)9781351321440
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008 by Taylor and Francis.


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