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Israel Government: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

Israel Government

Israel Government: A summary of information about Israel Government, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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Israel: Government

Country name
conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el
Data code
IS
Government type
parliamentary democracy
Capital
Jerusalem
note: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US,
like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv
Administrative divisions
6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz);
Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
Independence
14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under
British administration)
National holiday
Independence Day, 14 May 1948; note - Israel
declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar
and the holiday may occur in April or May
Constitution
no formal constitution; some of the functions of a
constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948),
the Basic Laws of the parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli
citizenship law
Legal system
mixture of English common law, British Mandate
regulations, and, in personal matters, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim
legal systems; in December 1985, Israel informed the UN Secretariat
that it would no longer accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President Ezer WEIZMAN (since 13 May 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Ehud BARAK (since 6 July 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the
Knesset
elections: president elected by the Knesset for a five-year term;
election last held 4 March 1998 (next to be held NA March 2003); prime
minister elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last
held 17 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2003); note - in March 1992,
the Knesset approved legislation, effective in 1996, which allowed for
the direct election of the prime minister; under the new law, each
voter casts two ballots - one for the direct election of the prime
minister and one for a party in the Knesset; the candidate that
receives the largest percentage of the popular vote then works to form
a coalition with other parties to achieve a parliamentary majority of
61 seats; finally, the candidate must submit his or her cabinet to the
Knesset for approval and this must be done within 45 days of the
election; in contrast to the old system, under the new law, the prime
minister's party need not be the single-largest party in the Knesset
election results: Ezer WEIZMAN reelected president by the 120-member
Knesset with a total of 63 votes, other candidate, Shaul AMOR,
received 49 votes (there were seven abstentions and one absence); Ehud
BARAK elected prime minister; percent of vote - Ehud BARAK 56.08%,
Binyamin NETANYAHU 43.92%
note: government coalition - One Israel, Shas, MERETZ, Yisra'el
Ba'Aliya, Center Party, National Religious Party
Legislative branch
unicameral Knesset or parliament (120 seats;
members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - One Israel 20.2%, Likud
Party 14.1%, Shas 13%, MERETZ 7.6%, Yisra'el Ba'Aliya 5.1%, Shinui 5%,
Center Party 5%, National Religious Party 4.2%, United Torah Judaism
3.7%, United Arab List 3.4%, National Union 3%, Hadash 2.6%, Yisra'el
Beiteinu 2.6%, Balad 1.9%, One Nation 1.9%, Democratic Movement NA
(party formed after election, members elected under Yisra'el Ba'Aliya
list); seats by party - One Israel 26, Likud Party 19, Shas 17, MERETZ
10, Yisra'el Ba'Aliya 4, Shinui 6, Center Party 6, National Religious
Party 5, United Torah Judaism 5, United Arab List 5, National Union 4,
Hadash 3, Yisra'el Beiteinu 4, Democratic Movement 2 (party formed
after election, members elected under Yisra'el Ba'Aliya list), Balad
2, One Nation 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court, appointed for life by the president
Political parties and leaders
Balad ; Center Party
; Democratic Movement ; Gesher
; Hadash ; Labor Party ;
Likud Party ; MERETZ ; Moledet [Rehavam
ZEEVI]; National Democratic Alliance (Balad) ; National
Religious Party ; National Union 
(includes Herut, Tekuma, Yisre'el Beiteinu and Moledet); One Israel
(includes Labor, Gesher, and Meimad); One Nation [Amir
PERETZ]; Shas ; Shinui ; Third Way
; Tzomet ; United Arab List [Abd
al-Malik DAHAMSHAH]; United Torah Judaism ; Yisra'el
Ba'Aliya ; Yisra'el Beiteinu
Political pressure groups and leaders
Gush Emunim, Israeli
nationalists advocating Jewish settlement on the West Bank and Gaza
Strip; Peace Now supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and
is critical of government's Lebanon policy
International organization participation
BSEC (observer), CCC, CE
(observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, ECE, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO,
ICC, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat,
Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner),
PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador David IVRY
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:  (202) 364-5500
FAX:  (202) 364-5610
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin S. INDYK
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv
mailing address: PSC 98, Unit 7228, APO AE 09830
telephone:  (3) 519-7575
FAX:  (3) 517-3227
consulate(s) general: Jerusalem; note - an independent US mission,
established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign
government
Flag description
white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star)
known as the Magen David (Shield of David) centered between two equal
horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag
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