The framework of the Israeli electoral system is defined in Article 4 of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which states: "The Knesset shall be elected by general, national, direct, equal, secret and proportional elections, in accordance with the Knesset Elections Law."
Every citizen aged 21 or older is eligible for election to the Knesset, unless a court has deprived him of that right by virtue of the law or he has been sentenced, by a final verdict, to actual imprisonment for a term of over three months. In addition, unless the chairman of the Central Elections Committee has determined that the crime of which he has been convicted does not bear moral turpitude, seven years must have passed from the day he concluded serving his term of imprisonment to the day of submission of the list of candidates.
Senior public officials - including the President, state comptroller, judges, as well as the chief-of-staff and high-ranking military officers - may not stand for election to the Knesset unless they have resigned their position at least 100 days before the elections. In addition, the Central Elections Committee may by law prevent a candidates' list from participating in elections if its objectives or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
- negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
- negation of the democratic character of the State;
- incitement to racism.
In the upcoming elections, polls will be open in the morning of Tuesday, 22 January 2013.
Election day is a holiday in order to enable all potential voters to participate. Free transportation is available to voters who happen to be outside their polling districts on this day.
Soldiers on active duty vote in polling stations in their units. Special arrangements are made for prison inmates to vote, as well as for those confined to hospital. Disabled persons who are ambulatory can vote in special voting stations designed for accessibility.
Israeli law does not provide for absentee ballots and in general, voting takes place only on Israeli soil. The sole exceptions are Israeli citizens serving in Israeli embassies and consulates abroad or on Israeli ships.