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Israel:
Government

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Country name
Definition
conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el
Government type
Definition
parliamentary democracy
Capital
Definition
name: Jerusalem
geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Friday in March; ends the Sunday between the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
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
Definition
6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
Independence
Definition
14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday
Definition
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
Definition
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; note - since May 2003 the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution
Legal system
Definition
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
Definition
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
Definition
chief of state: President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Ehud OLMERT (since May 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI (since May 2006); Ehud OLMERT won the right to lead the government when his Kadima Party won 29 seats in elections held on 28 March 2006
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
elections: president is largely a ceremonial role and is elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term (one-term limit); election last held 13 June 2007 (next to be held in 2014 but can be called earlier); following legislative elections, the president assigns a Knesset member - traditionally the leader of the largest party - the task of forming a governing coalition
note: government coalition - Kadima, Labor Party, GIL (Pensioners), and SHAS
election results: Shimon PERES elected president; number of votes in first round - Shimon PERES 58, Reuven RIVLIN 37, Colette AVITAL 21; PERES elected president in second round with 86 votes (unopposed)
Legislative branch
Definition
unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 March 2006 (next scheduled to be held in 2010 but can be called earlier)
election results: percent of vote by party - Kadima 22%, Labor 15.1%, SHAS 9.5%, Likud 9%, Yisrael Beiteinu 9%, NU/NRP 7.1%, GIL 5.9%, Torah and Shabbat Judaism 4.7%, Meretz-YAHAD 3.8%, United Arab List 3%, Balad 2.3%, HADASH 2.7%, other 5.9%; seats by party - Kadima 29, Labor 19, Likud 12, SHAS 12, Yisrael Beiteinu 11, NU/NRP 9, GIL 7, Torah and Shabbat Judaism 6, Meretz-YAHAD 5, United Arab List 4, Balad 3, HADASH 3
Judicial branch
Definition
Supreme Court (justices appointed by Judicial Selection Committee - made up of all three branches of the government; mandatory retirement age is 70)
Political parties and leaders
Definition
Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [Muhammad BARAKA]; GIL (Pensioners) [Rafael "Rafi" EITAN]; Kadima [Ehud OLMERT]; Labor Party [Ehud BARAK]; Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]; Meretz-YAHAD [Yossi BEILIN]; National Democratic Assembly (Balad) [Jamal ZAHALKA]; National Union (NU)/National Religious Party (NRP) [Binyamin ELON]; SHAS [Eliyahu YISHAI]; Torah and Shabbat Judaism [Yaakov LITZMAN]; United Arab List [Ibrahim SARSOUR]; Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Definition
B'Tselem [Jessica MONTELL, Executive Director] monitors human rights abuses; Peace Now [Yariv OPPENHEIMER, Secretary General] supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; YESHA Council of Settlements [Danny DAYAN, Chairman] promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise
International organization participation
Definition
BIS, BSEC (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS (observer), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador Salai MERIDOR
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard H. JONES
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903
mailing address: PSC 98, Box 29, APO AE 09830
telephone: [972] (3) 519-7575
FAX: [972] (3) 516-4390
consulate(s) general: Jerusalem; note - an independent US mission, established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government
Flag description
Definition
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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