The state of Israel is a parliamentary republic, created on May 14, 1948, according to the plan approved by United Nations, which divided Palestine. Let me focus on the structure of Israel’s legislative organs. The head of the state is the President that is chosen for a period of five years by the Israeli parliament called Knesset. According to the current law, the President does not possess real decisive authority and plays a role of one of the state’s symbols, as well as performs several representative functions.
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Knesset is the highest institution of legislative authority and is a unicameral parliament that consists of 120 deputies. The first body of Knesset began its work after the general elections in January of 1949. The central agency of executive authority is the government, led by the Prime Minister. David Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel (Druks 20).
The highest institution of the judicatory authority is the Supreme Court. It is the final institution for reviewing civil and criminal suits, and also acts as a constitutional court, making decisions of whether legislative actions correspond to the general laws.
Knesset is the residence of the President, and office of the Prime Minister. The Supreme Court just as most other Israeli government institutions are located in Jerusalem. After the presidential elections, the president conducts a conference meeting with every elected fraction and appoints the Prime Minister from among one of the heads of those parties. The Prime Minister is chosen by the President according to his ability to form a coalitional government. Generally, the head of the largest fraction is appointed for this position. One of the main laws of the state is the Knesset law which ascertains a four-year authoritative period of each parliamentary assembly from the day it was elected.
The executive functions in cities are carried out by mayors that are elected by direct voting. Municipal councils are elected through direct voting according to party lists and participate in the governing as well as control the executive power. In towns and villages, local councils and regional councils are governing small groups of communities.
Israel does not separate religion away from government, and there are religious boards within the government that consist of appointees of local authority and central rabbinate that provides services of civil status acts as well as some ceremonial services.
The next aspect that this essay describes is Israel’s legal system. The state of Israel does not have a constitution. In practice, its function is carried out by a code of basic laws that brings under regulation the main issues of the state’s system, rights, and freedoms of the citizens. According to a decision made by Knesset on June 15, 1950, after all the necessary laws will be approved, they shall be a part of Israel’s constitution after adding a corresponding preface (Diskin 45).
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Comparing to Israel, United States has a constitution approved in 1787 that authorizes state power to the federal government and divides it into legislative, executive, and legal institutions that act separately from one another. In fact, in the US each state has its own constitution. The people are allowed to vote in Israel however there are no primary elections. The major parties in the US are also somewhat different from Israel’s. Major parties in the US are republican and democratic although it is believed that compared to Israel the ideological component in those parties is by far less signified.
Abraham Diskin, Elections and Voters in Israel (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1991) 45.
Herbert Druks, The Uncertain Friendship: The U.S. and Israel from Roosevelt to Kennedy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001) 20.
Thomas Magstadt, Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, and Issues, 7th edition(Wads worth Publishing) 194-196.