The State of Israel was born in 1948, and have thereon celebrated 64 years of pluralism, democratic values and a free electorate.
Israel is a parliamentary democracy consisting of legislative, executive and judicial branches. Its institutions are the presidency, the Knesset (parliament), the government (cabinet of ministers) and the judiciary.
The system is based on the principle of separation of powers, in which the executive branch (the government) is subject to the confidence of the legislative branch (the Knesset) and the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by law.
The president is elected by a simple majority of the Knesset from among candidates nominated on the basis of their personal stature and lifelong contribution to the state. Revised legislation (1998) provides for the election of the president for a single term of seven years.
Presidential duties, which are mostly ceremonial and formal, are defined by law. They include opening the first session of a new Knesset; directing a member of Knesset to form a new government; accepting the credentials of foreign envoys; signing treaties and laws adopted by the Knesset; appointing, on recommendation of appropriate bodies, the heads of Israel’s diplomatic missions abroad, judges, and the governor of the Bank of Israel; and pardoning prisoners, on advice of the minister of justice.
The executive authority of the state is the government (cabinet of ministers), charged with administering internal and foreign affairs, including security matters. Its policy-making powers are very wide, and it is authorized to take action on any issue which is not legally incumbent upon another authority.
The cabinet determines its own working the formation of a government, a list of ministers for Knesset approval, together with an outline of proposed government guidelines. All the ministers must be Israeli citizens and residents of Israel and all must be Knesset members.
Once approved, the ministers are responsible to the prime minister for the fulfillment of their duties and accountable to the Knesset for their actions.
The Knesset (Israel's unicameral parliament) is the country's legislative body. The Knesset took its name and fixed its membership at 120 from the Knesset Hagedolah (Great Assembly), the representative Jewish council convened in Jerusalem by Ezra and Nehemiah in the 5th century BCE.
A new Knesset begins to function after general elections, which determine its composition. In the first session, Knesset members declare their allegiance, and the Knesset speaker and deputy speakers are elected. The Knesset usually serves for four years, but may dissolve itself or be dissolved by the prime minister any time during its term. Until a new Knesset is formally constituted following elections, full authority remains with the outgoing one.
The Knesset operates in plenary sessions and through 15 standing committees. In plenary sessions, general debates are conducted on legislation submitted by the government or by individual Knesset members, as well as on government policy and activity. Debates are conducted in Hebrew, but members may speak Arabic, as both are official languages. Simultaneous translation is available.
The law courts constitute a separate, independent unit within the Ministry of Justice. The Director of Courts is a judge, appointed to this position by the Minister of Justice, pursuant to Section 82 of the Courts Law (Consolidated Text) 5744-1984; he is responsible to the Minister for the orderly operation of the various judicial instances.
The Organization of Courts of Law is managed by the Directorate of Courts, headed by the Director of Courts. The system is headed by the President of the Supreme Court of Law, and the Minister of Justice.
The organization of the Courts of Law in Israel includes all the Courts of Law in Israel:
- The Supreme Court
- The District Courts of Law
- The Magistrates Courts (the first instance) - and in general, the Court of Traffic Offenses, Family Courts and Juvenile Courts
- National Labor Court
- Regional Labor Courts