Two Democracies U.S.A. Israel Parliamentary system Differentiation between head of government and head of state. Electoral system is one of proportional representation Unicameral System: Executive branch arises out of the legislative branch Supreme Court functions as Israel’s highest appellate court and also High Court of Justice. Advantages: Diversity of opinion represented in parliament and government Disadvantages: tendency towards instability, no direct representatives • The Presidential System • An executive branch presides separately from the legislature • Independent Judicial branch • Origins in the medieval monarchies of France, England and Scotland • Advantages: Direct mandate, Separation of powers, decisiveness, stability • Disadvantages: favors incumbents, can impede leadership change
Basic Laws of Israel • 1958 --The Knesset • States legislative functions of the house of representatives of the state. • 1960 -- Israel Lands • Ensures state lands remain national property. • 1964 -- The President of the State • Deals with status, election, qualifications, powers, and procedures of work of the President of the State. • 1968 -- The Government • (Replaced by the 1992 law and then restored, with amendments, by the 2001 law) • 1975 -- The State Economy • Regulates payments made by and to the State. Designates authority to mint currency. • 1976 -- The Military • Upholds constitutional and legal basis for the operations of the Israel Defense Forces. Subordinates military forces to the government, deals with enlistment, and states that no extra-legal armed force outside the Israel Defense Forces may be set up or maintained. • 1980 -- Jerusalem Law • Establishes the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; secures the integrity and unity of Jerusalem; deals with holy places; secures rights of members of all religions; grants special preference with regards to development. • 1984 -- The Judiciary • Outlines the authority, institutions, principle of independence, openness, appointment, qualifications, and powers of judiciary.
Basic Laws of Israel • 1988 -- The State Comptroller • Deals with the powers, tasks, and duties of supervisor of government bodies, ministries, institutions, authorities, agencies, persons, and bodies operating on behalf of the state. • 1992 -- Human Dignity and Liberty • Declares basic human rights in Israel are based on the recognition of the value of man, the sanctity of his life and the fact that he is free. Defines human freedom as right to leave and enter the country, privacy (including speech, writings, and notes), intimacy, and protection from unlawful searches of one's person or property. This law includes instruction regarding its own permanence and protection from changes by means of emergency regulations. • 1992 -- The Government • Provides for direct election of Prime Minister at time of Knesset elections. Deals with principles of service of Prime Minister, formation and function of government, qualifications for ministers. (Replaced by the 2001 law) • 1992 -- Freedom of Occupation • The law lays down the right of "every citizen or inhabitant to engage in any occupation, profession or trade" unless "a law which corresponds with the values of the State of Israel, and which was designed for a worthy end" determines otherwise. (Replaced by the 1994 law) • 1994 -- Freedom of Occupation • Guarantees every Israel national or resident's "right to engage in any occupation, profession or trade". Any violation of this right shall be "by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required." • 2001 -- The Government • Overturns the 1992 law, and restores the 1968 system with some amendments.
The Knesset: Israel’s Parliamentary System • Rooted in political traditions of Central and Eastern Europe • Multiple parties with a broad range of beliefs • Each party has representatives in exact proportion to the votes cast for that party. • No districts, the entire country is a district! • 120 seats, based on legislative body in ancient Judea
So How Does it Work?? • You vote for the party not the person. • Each party submits a list of 120 candidates, the number of seats in Israeli Knesset (parliament.) • Israeli citizens of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds vote by choosing a ballot with letters representing their party, place it in an envelope, and place it in the ballot box.
Then what???? • The ballots are tallied and seats are awarded in the Knesset according to the percentage of the vote earned. • So if “party A” gets 51% of the vote, that party will get 61 seats in the Knesset. A majority. • However, no party has ever won a majority, so parties must get together to form a coalition government.
The Process Begins • The President of Israel gives permission to the leader of the party with the most seats to form a coalition government. • That leader has two weeks to form coalitions between the different parties as to who will sit in the government.
Then then fun begins! • Leaders of Israeli political parties negotiate on behalf of their constituents for their concerns. • When enough parties agree to work with each other an accommodate each other’s agenda—and the number of seats is over 61—that party forms the “government”
The executive branch is not elected directly. It instead arises out of the Knesset, in a sense. • The executive are the people who will serve as the country's cabinet, each one as a minister responsible for a different department or ministry. • In order for a party representative to be in the cabinet, his or her party has to be part of the of the coalition government. • This is what is called "the government," and executive decisions may only be taken by a majority vote in the government. • The leader of the government, who chairs its meetings and guides its guidelines and agendas, is the prime minister.
But what about the President? Presidential Role Shimon Peres • The President is elected by the Knesset every six years. • The current President is Shimon Peres. • The Israeli Presidency is largely a ceremonial role.
The Judicial Branch • The Israeli Supreme Court serves as the highest appellate court and also a high court of justice.