dinsdag 5 mei 2009

Democratisch Israel

Israel is een parlementaire democratie.
De wetgevende, uitvoerende en rechtelijke machten zijn strikt gescheiden.
Alle burgers hebben stemrecht, ongeacht afkomst of geloof en zijn ook allen verkiesbaar ervan uitgaande dat ze geen strafblad hebben.
Er is sprake van evenredige vertegenwoordiging in de knesset (het Parlement).
Dit wil zeggen dat het percentage stemmen dat een partij krijgt bij verkiezingen ook het percentage van het aantal parlementsleden (120 in totaal) in de knesset aangeeft.
Interne partijverkiezingen bepalen de kandidatenlijsten bij de nationale verkiezingen.
Tenzij er een meerderheid van een enkele partij is (wat nog nooit is voorgekomen) wordt de regering gevormd door coalities.
Een regering blijft vier jaar aan, tenzij er in de tussentijd situaties ontstaan waardoor zij moet aftreden.
Meestal wordt de lijstaanvoerder van de grootste partij de premier van de regering.
Dit is niet noodzakelijk en kan door overeenstemming van de coalitie, die meestal de meerderheid vormt, een andere persoon betreffen.
Dit zal voorkomen als de grootste partij niet in de coalitie zit, zoals momenteel het geval is. 
Boven alle politieke partijen staat de president.
Deze wordt gekozen met meerderheid der stemmen in de knesset en zetelt zeven jaar.
De taak van de president is ceremonieel en bedoeld om de eenheid van het land te garanderen.
 
MS
 
 
 

Voting in Israel: A Right for All Citizens

Israel’s Government Structure                                          The Knesset (Parliament)
Israel’s Cabinet                                                               Israel’s Prime Minister
Israel’s Judiciary                                                             Israel’s State Comptroller
Israel’s Presidency                                                          Local Governance in Israel 
Expert Sources

Descriptions of political parties in current Knesset


All Israeli citizens 18 and older — regardless of religion, gender or race — enjoy the right to vote
free from intimidation
In fact, in Israel’s current Parliament (Knesset) three parties have mostly Arab voters and office-holders.  Israel’s vibrant political system ensures that virtually every segment of society and every viewpoint can be represented. Parties reflect a broad array of ideological, ethnic and religious groupings. 

Israeli citizens are actively encouraged to participate in the democratic process. Election Day is a national holiday, and free transportation is available to voters. Arrangements to vote are even made for prison inmates and those who are hospitalized.

Israel’s first nationwide elections were held in January 1949, soon after the War of Independence, with the first-ever Knesset meeting in February 1949. The turnout in Israeli elections since the state’s founding has generally exceeded 77 percent,  illustrating the great interest most citizens take in national and local politics.

Israel’s Government Structure

Courtesy of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site


Israel is a parliamentary democracy with legislative, executive and judicial branches. The system is upheld by a firm separation of powers, with checks and balances, and by the independence of the judiciary being guaranteed by law. The main institutions include the Knesset (parliament), the national government (Cabinet), the judiciary, the state comptroller and the presidency. 

The Knesset (Parliament)

The Knesset is Israel’s legislative body, holding exclusive power to enact laws and the responsibility for supervising the work of the government.

National elections for the Knesset are held once every four years, barring exceptional circumstances. Each Israeli votes for a political party, rather than a single candidate as in the United States. All votes are weighted equally.  A justice of the Supreme Court and representatives of Knesset parties form a Central Elections Committee, responsible for conducting and supervising the elections. 
  • All Israeli citizens — Arab or Jew, Israeli-born or naturalized — are eligible to be members of Knesset (MK) provided that they have no criminal record, do not already hold political office and have not been barred by Israeli courts from holding political office.
  • The Knesset comprises 120 members belonging to a wide variety of political parties, including three representing the interests of Arab Israelis; a party representing Russian Israelis; a party representing pensioners; and several parties representing political ideologies across the spectrum.

Parties win Knesset seats in proportion to their percentage of the vote, provided they receive more than 2 percent of the vote. For example, if a party wins 25 percent of the vote, the top 30 candidates on its list are elected. 

Prior to the general election, internal elections are held in each party to determine which of its representatives will occupy the seats it wins in the general election.  No political party ever has held the majority of Knesset seats (61) needed to form a government alone. Therefore, all governments have been coalitions of parties.

Israel’s Cabinet

The government holds the executive power of the state and is responsible for administering internal and foreign affairs, including security matters.

Following elections for the Knesset, the head of the party with the most Knesset seats serves as prime minister. That person is responsible for forming the government and has 45 days to negotiate a coalition and assign ministerial portfolios. Each government must gain the approval of the majority of the Knesset; the approved ministers and the prime minister form the Cabinet. The approved ministers answer to the prime minister and to the Knesset. 

A government usually serves for four years, but the term may be shortened by the resignation or death of the prime minister, or a vote of no-confidence by the Knesset. 

Israel’s Prime Minister

The prime minister is the head of the political party that receives the greatest number of votes, provided that (s)he is also a Knesset member.  As chief executive, the prime minister determines the agenda of Cabinet meetings and has the final word in policy decisions. Prime ministers generally serve four-year terms, though those may be reduced by a vote of no-confidence in the Knesset. 

Israel’s Judiciary

The independence of the judiciary in Israel is guaranteed by law. Judges are nominated by a committee comprising Supreme Court judges, and are appointed by the president. Appointments are permanent, with mandatory retirement at age 70. 

The Supreme Court, headed by Israel’s first female Supreme Court president, Dorit Beinisch, has nation-wide jurisdiction to rule on core issues of justice and on petitions for orders against any government body or agent. It has the exclusive power to release those who are illegally detained or imprisoned.

Religious courts include Jewish rabbinical courts; Muslim sharia courts; Druze religious courts; and ecclesiastical courts of the 10 recognized Christian communities in Israel. These courts have jurisdiction over their communities in matters of personal status, such as marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship and adoption.

The Israeli judiciary system also includes magistrates’ courts for civil and minor criminal offenses; district courts for more significant civil and criminal cases; and special courts for traffic, labor, juvenile, military and municipal matters. 

Israel’s State Comptroller

The state comptroller is an independent entity, responsible for auditing the economy, property, finances, obligations, administration, legality and integrity of governmental entities. The state comptroller investigates complaints from the public about government employees or institutions and is accountable to the Knesset for the duration of the five-year term.  The state comptroller generates reports and audits, which are submitted to the relevant individual or body and then to the Knesset before being published and made available to the public.

Israel’s Presidency

The president is the head of state, symbolizing the nation's unity and transcending party politics. The role of the president is predominantly ceremonial and formal, and includes opening the first session of a new Knesset, directing a member of Knesset to form a new government, signing treaties and laws adopted by the Knesset and pardoning prisoners. In addition, the president performs public functions and can embark on self-directed initiatives to improve the quality of life for the society at large.  The president is elected by a simple majority of the Knesset for a single term of seven years. 

Local Governance in Israel


Local governments are responsible for administering services in education, healthcare and water sanitation and for collecting taxes. These services are provided by the central government, to which local governments are subordinate. All Israeli citizens and other permanent residents 18 and older are eligible to vote in local government elections, which occur every five years. 

Theisraelproject

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