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Israel: Government

Government Israel
Country name:
conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local short form: Yisra'el
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
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 Moshe KATSAV (since 31 July 2000)
elections: president elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term; election last held 31 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2007); following legislative elections, the president assigns a Knesset member - traditionally the leader of the largest party - the task of forming a governing coalition; election last held 28 January 2003 (next to be held fall of 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Ariel SHARON (since 7 March 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
election results: Moshe KATSAV elected president by the 120-member Knesset with a total of 60 votes, other candidate, Shimon PERES, received 57 votes (there were three abstentions); Ariel SHARON continues as prime minister after Likud Party victory in January 2003 Knesset elections; Likud won 38 seats and then formed coalition government with Shinui, the National Religious Party, and the National Union
Legislative branch:
unicameral Knesset or parliament (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 January 2003 (next to be held fall of 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - Likud Party 29.4%, Labor 14.5%, Shinui 12.3%, Shas 8.2%, National Union 5.5%, Meretz 5.2%, United Torah Judaism 4.3%, National Religious Party 4.2%, Democratic Front for Peace and Equality 3.0%, One Nation 2.8%, National Democratic Alliance 2.3%, YBA 2.2%, United Arab List 2.1%, Green Leaf Party 1.2%, Herut 1.2%, other 1.6%; seats by party - Likud 38, Labor 19, Shinui 15, Shas 11, National Union 7, Meretz 6, National Religious Party 6, United Torah Judaism 5, Democratic Front for Peace and Equality 3, One Nation 3, National Democratic Alliance 3, YBA 2, United Arab List 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (justices appointed for life by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Center Party [Dan MERIDOR]; Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash) [Muhammad BARAKA]; Democratic Movement [Roman BRONFMAN]; Gesher [David LEVI]; Green Leaf Party [Boaz WACHTEL and Shlomi SANDAK]; Herut [Michael KLEINER]; Labor Party [Binyamin BEN-ELIEZER]; Likud Party [Ariel SHARON]; Meimad [Rabbi Michael MELCHIOR]; Meretz [Yossi SARID]; National Democratic Alliance (Balad) [Azmi BISHARA]; National Religious Party [Yitzhak LEVY]; National Union [Benyamin ELON] (includes Tekuma and Moledet); One Israel [Ra'anan COHEN]; One Nation [Amir PERETZ]; Shas [Eliyahu YISHAI]; Shinui [Tommy LAPID]; United Arab List [Abd al-Malik DAHAMSHAH]; United Torah Judaism [Meir PORUSH]; Yisra'el Ba'Aliya or YBA [Natan SHARANSKY]; Yisra'el Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Israeli nationalists advocating Jewish settlement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; Peace Now supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; Yesha (settler) Council promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise; B'Tselem monitors human rights abuses
International organization participation:
BSEC (observer), CE (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, ECE, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, OAS (observer), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel AYALON
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel C. KURTZER
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv
mailing address: PSC 98, Box 29, APO AE 09830
telephone: [972] (3) 519-7457/7369/7454/7458/7453
FAX: [972] (3) 517-4390
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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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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