Browse the listing below to find government information for Israel, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Israel at its
Israel Country Page.
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: May 14, 1948.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state); prime minister (head of government). Legislative--unicameral, Knesset. Judicial--Supreme Court.
Political parties: Labor, Likud, and various other secular and religious parties, including some wholly or predominantly supported by Israel's Arab citizens. A total of 12 parties are represented in the 16th Knesset, elected January 2003.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Government of Israel
Israel is a parliamentary democracy. Its governmental system is based on several basic laws enacted by its unicameral parliament, the Knesset. The president (chief of state) is elected by the Knesset for a 5-year term.
The prime minister (head of government) exercises executive power and has in the past been selected by the president as the party leader most able to form a government. Between May 1996 and March 2001, Israelis voted for the prime minister directly. (The legislation which required the direct election of the prime minister was rescinded by the Knesset in March 2001.) The members of the cabinet must be collectively approved by the Knesset.
The Knesset's 120 members are elected by secret ballot to 4-year terms, although the prime minister may decide to call for new elections before the end of the 4-year term. Voting is for party lists rather than for individual candidates, and the total number of seats assigned each party reflects that party's percentage of the vote. Successful Knesset candidates are drawn from the lists in order of party-assigned rank. Under the present electoral system, all members of the Knesset are elected at large.
The independent judicial system includes secular and religious courts. The courts' right of judicial review of the Knesset's legislation is limited. Judicial interpretation is restricted to problems of execution of laws and validity of subsidiary legislation. The highest court in Israel is the Supreme Court, whose judges are approved by the President.
Israel is divided into six districts, administration of which is coordinated by the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for the administration of the occupied territories.