The political system in Israel is
parliamentary-democratic and unified state. The head of
state is a president, elected by the Knesset for seven
(formerly five) years. The president can be re-elected once
(immediately). He primarily has ceremonial functions, but
with his public statements can have some influence.
The real power has traditionally sprung from the Knesset,
elected in the general election for four years (but can be
dissolved sooner, at his own discretion). Knesset has 120
members, chosen according to the ratio principle. The voting
age is 18, and all of Israel is one constituency. The
government is based on, and is responsible for, the Knesset.
In 1996, direct elections were introduced for the prime
minister, but this scheme was abandoned after the 2001
Israel declared itself independent on May 14, 1948. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of IL and its meanings of Israel. Due
to disagreement, among other things about the role of
religion, failed to make a constitution. Instead, the
National Assembly passed the Knesset in 1949, a transitional
law that, in general terms, dealt with the role of the
various state agencies.
In 1950, the Knesset decided that fundamental laws could
be passed that would eventually constitute a constitution.
Such laws have been gradually adopted; in addition, some
older laws have been given the status of fundamental laws.
But Israel has no separate constitution.
An Israeli citizen older than 18 is allowed to vote in
elections. The polling stations are open from 0800 to 2200
on Election Day. The municipal councils are responsible for
the polling stations, and the polling stations are shipped
after 10.00. 2200 to 18 official counting stations located
throughout the country. From 2015, the threshold for a party
to enter the Knesset has been raised to 3.25 per cent. In
practice, this means that a party must have at least four
seats to enter the Knesset.
The rules of the election campaign
The Independent Central Election Committee, chaired by
this election by Israeli-Arab Supreme Court Judge Salim
Joubran, is responsible for overseeing the election and
ensuring all rules are properly observed. The main source of
revenue for the parties is public funding, distributed on
the basis of the seats of the current Knesset. The number of
seats in the Knesset also determines the allocation of time
on television for party political broadcasts. In the form of
private funds, all parties must declare openly where they
have obtained their funding. The parties have limits on the
amount of international funds they can receive. There is
also an upper limit for individual donations.
After the official results are known, the president
contacts the leaders of all parties elected to the Knesset.
A week after Election Day, the President formally invites
the party leader who has received the most votes and/or
who is most likely to be able to form a government. In order
to build a coalition government, the government must have 61
or more votes in the Knesset. The law allows four weeks
followed by a two week extension for this process, and it
usually involves intensive negotiations on ministerial posts
and government policy. The existing government continues to
serve in a "janitorial function", and the new government
gains power only when it has been approved by the Knesset.
The party system is fragmented and coalition-dominated,
to a large extent also personal. No party has had a majority
in the Knesset alone; all governments have therefore been
coalition governments. However, one party, the Labor Party,
dominated politics and had the prime minister until 1977. By
the formation of the conservative Likud alliance in 1973,
the Labor Party became a rival of importance to the right.
Likewise, the prime minister had in the periods 1977-83,
1986-92, 1996-99 and 2001-05, but the party was seriously
weakened when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon broke out in 2005
and formed a separate liberal party, Kadima.
There is also a large group of small parties associated
with ethnic or religiously based groups. The large number of
parties has made parliamentary matters difficult, and small
parties often use ultimatum and pressure to get their
affairs through to the government, with frequent government
crises as a result.
Israeli politics has been characterized by the struggle
to establish, build and secure the state. Israel's many wars
and the extensive international condemnation the country has
faced have caused the Israelis to have to rely on themselves
and their own power. Among other things, through extensive
assistance from the United States, it has been possible for
Israel to maintain a comprehensive and very modern defense.
The security situation has also characterized the economy,
with a large state role in most business sectors and a large
Domestic policy has also been largely characterized by
contradictions that originate in the country's conflict with
the Palestinian inhabitants of the areas occupied by Israel
and with most of the neighboring countries in the region.
The controversy has mainly been about instruments and
progress in the fragile peace process with the Palestinians,
and not least about the contentious establishment and
security of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian land,
a policy that has, among other things, consisted in frequent
closures of the border between Israel and the occupied
territories. and building a security wall along the border.
Israel's limited size, its settler character and the
conflicts with its neighbors have contributed to the
centralization of politics. The electoral system, with the
whole country as one constituency, has made the parties
national and nationally political oriented. Local elections
are held simultaneously with national elections. At the
local level, there are three types of advice chosen. At the
intermediate level, the country is divided into six
administrative districts, with its own boards. These boards
have been based in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Haifa, Ramla, Tel
Aviv and Beersheba.
Legal developments are particularly influenced by UK and
US law, including in criminal and procedural law, however,
no jury is used. Religious regulations are usually applied
in personal and family law matters. There are both civil and
religious courts. The Supreme Court has a chairman, a deputy
chairman and up to 12 (currently 11) other judges, who are
appointed for life by the president. Locally, there are 29
magistrate dishes; decisions in these can be appealed to the
five district courts.
There are religious courts for the country's various
recognized religious communities - the Jewish, the Muslim,
the Christian and the Drusian - who judge in personal and
family matters. If a case concerns people from different
communities, the chairman of the Supreme Court decides which
court will handle the case. The judgments of the religious
courts are enforced by the civil courts.
Israel is skeptical of international courts and normally
does not recognize sentencing there.