State Structure and Political System of Israel
According to microedu, Israel is a parliamentary republic. Israel has developed a set of constitutional provisions, including a number of Basic Laws. Introduced separately over the years, these laws do not constitute an official Constitution, but define the scope of the competence of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities and regulate especially important areas such as the state economy and lands, civil-military relations, the status of Jerusalem. The Basic Laws were passed by the Knesset in the same way as other laws of the country. The constitutional significance of these laws is determined by their essence, and some of them – by the introduction of “legal amendments”, which are adopted by a majority vote.
The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel and a number of laws, including the Law of Return (1950), which reflects the raison d’être of the Jewish state, also have a constitutional character. The Law of Return grants every Jew the right to return to the land of Israel and automatically acquire Israeli citizenship.
Administratively, the country is divided into 6 districts (districts, or mekhozes): Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, North, South, Tel Aviv. The largest cities (thousand people): Jerusalem (670), Tel Aviv-Jaffa (358), Haifa (358), Rishonle Zion (207), Ashdod (181), Beersheba (177).
The supreme body of legislative power is the Knesset (unicameral parliament). In the elections to the Knesset in January 2003, the majority of votes was won by the Likud party – 29.4%. Reu-ven Rivlin became the chairman of the Knesset.
The highest body of executive power is the government. Prime Minister – Ariel Sharon (since March 7, 2001). The head of state is the president, who is elected by parliament for a five-year term. Since July 31, 2000 President Moshe Katsav.
Elections to the Knesset are universal, secret, based on the principle of proportionality. This is a vote for one or another political party, and not for an individual. Before the elections, each party publishes a list of candidates and its political platform. Seats in the Knesset are distributed in proportion to the number of votes received by a particular party, and in accordance with the order of candidates in the electoral list. The President is elected by the Knesset. After each election, the president invites a member of the Knesset, usually the head of the party with the most representation in the Knesset, and instructs him to form a government. In March 2002, a law was passed on direct elections of the head of government, endowed with the right to appoint up to half of the members of the cabinet of ministers not from among the supporters of his party.
Prominent statesmen of Israel Weizmann Ezer (born in Tel Aviv in 1924) is the nephew of the first President of the State of Israel, Chaim Weizmann. He played a prominent role in the conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Peres (Persky) Shimon (born in 1923 in Poland), Minister of Defense from 1959–65, Prime Minister from 1984–86, made a great contribution to the development of the military industry and the creation of an atomic research center near Dimona (in the Negev) and Nakhal Sorek. One of the initiators and an active participant in the negotiation process with the Palestinians, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Yitzhak Rabin (1922-95) was the Minister of Defense, who simultaneously served as the Ministers of Health, the Interior, and Religious Affairs. He made a great contribution to establishing peace with the Arabs, overcoming the fierce resistance of extremist circles. He became the first head of the Jewish state to recognize the PLO and in September 1993 signed an agreement with it on Palestinian autonomy. He considered the strengthening and development of US-Israeli relations one of the most important directions of Israel’s foreign policy. Ariel Sharon (born 1928 in Palestine), current prime minister of Israel, career military officer. A participant in the most famous armed clashes and all the wars waged by Israel with the Arab states, an uncompromising politician.
The work of the executive and legislative branches of the administrative units is organized as follows. The six administrative districts are under the jurisdiction of district administrations appointed by and responsible to the Minister of the Interior. In I. there are 50 municipalities, 147 local and 53 district councils. Local authorities are in charge of education, culture, health care, social security, road maintenance, etc. Municipal and local councils are elected according to party lists on the principle of proportional representation, and mayors of cities and chairmen of local councils are elected by direct vote. The chairmen of the district councils are elected from among the leaders of the urban and rural communities in the given district.
The political life of the country is characterized by the presence of a large number of parties, reflecting the widest range of beliefs and views. The main political parties are: the Labor Party of Israel (“Labor”) – a socialist party since 1968; Likud has been a bloc of the right since 1988; Meretz is a center-left alliance that includes: RAC (Civil Rights Movement), Shinui (Change), MAPAM (United Labor Party); Shas (“Sephardic Torah Guardians”) – a religious party; “Mafdal” (national-religious party); “Israel ba-Aliya” (“Israel on the rise”) unites people from the Russian Federation and the CIS; Yahadut ha-Torah ha-Meuhedet (United Torah Judaism) is a religious party. Most parties represent major ideological or religious beliefs.
Other public organizations and elements of civil society. The General Workers’ Federation of Eretz Israel (“Histadrut” is the first word of the organization’s name in Hebrew) was founded in December 1920. It is now the largest trade union association in Israel. The number of members exceeds 500 thousand people. The main goal is to protect the rights of workers, as well as to create jobs to ensure the employment of the Jewish population. The chairman of the organization since 1995 is Amir Peretz.
The Jewish Agency for Israel (“Sokhnut”) was established in 1929. It performs a number of tasks of national importance: organizing the immigration of Jews to Israel and settling new arrivals, creating agricultural settlements and building housing for new Israelis, promoting the development of national education and Jewish youth movement, improvement of cities. In 1999, Salay Meridor was elected chairman of the Sokhnut.
The main goal of the internal policy of the State of Israel is to ensure the welfare of its citizens. Special care is shown in relation to the poor strata of the population, the improvement of repatriates and their involvement in economic life.
Of particular importance for the reproduction process of Israel is its economic interaction with foreign countries, so one of the directions of foreign policy is its active integration into the system of international economic relations and the normalization of the political situation in the country and throughout the Middle East region.
The armed forces of Israel were created simultaneously with the proclamation of the state in 1948. The Israeli army (IDF) is a fairly powerful organization on a national scale. Ground Forces 145 thousand people, Air Force 32 thousand people. Aircraft and helicopter fleet has more than 400 units. military aviation. Naval forces ca. 5 thousand people, 60 warships and boats.
Israel has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in May 1948, interrupted during the Arab-Israeli war in July-October 1967 and re-established with the Russian Federation in October 1991).