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ISRAEL

Israel is a parliamentary democracy. Its governmental system is based on several basic laws enacted by its unicameral parliament, the Knesset. The president (chief of state) is elected by the Knesset for a 5-year term.

The prime minister (head of government) exercises executive power and has in the past been selected by the president as the party leader most able to form a government. In the May 1996 elections, Israelis for the first time voted for the prime minister directly, in accordance with recent legislation. The members of the cabinet must be collectively approved by the Knesset.

The Knesset's 120 members are elected by secret ballot to 4-year terms, although the prime minister may decide to call for new elections before the end of the 4-year term. Voting is for party lists rather than for individual candidates, and the total number of seats assigned each party reflects that party's percentage of the vote. Successful Knesset candidates are drawn from the lists in order of party-assigned rank. Under the present electoral system, all members of the Knesset are elected at large.

The independent judicial system includes secular and religious courts. The courts' right of judicial review of the Knesset's legislation is limited. Judicial interpretation is restricted to problems of execution of laws and validity of subsidiary legislation. The highest court in Israel is the Supreme Court, whose judges are approved by the president.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT
Pres. (Acting) Ruvy Rivlin
Prime Min. Benjamin Netanyahu
Dep. Prime Min.  
Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development Uri Ariel
Min. of Communications Ayoob Kara
Min. of Defense Avigdor Lieberman
Min. for Development of the Negev & Galilee Aryeh Deri
Min. of Education Naftali Bennet
Min. of Environment Zeev Elkin
Min. of Finance Moshe Kachlon
Min. of Foreign Affairs  
Min. of Health  
Min. of Housing & Construction Yoav Gallant
Min. of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver
Min. of Industry, Trade, & Labor Eli Cohien
Min. of Interior Aryeh Deri
Min. of Internal (Public) Security Gilad Erdan
Min. of Justice Ayelet Shaked
Min. of National Infrastructures  
Min. for Pensioner Affairs  
Min. in of Religious Affairs DAvid Azouli
Min. of Social Affairs Haim Katz
Min. of Science, Culture, & Sport Ghalib MAJADILAH
Min. of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan
Min. of Tourism Yitzhak AHARONOVICH
Min. of Transportation & Road Safety Yisrael Katz
Min. Without Portfolio  
Min. Without Portfolio  
Min. Without Portfolio  
Min. Without Portfolio  
Attorney Gen.  
Governor, Bank of Israel R
Ambassador to the US Ron Derner
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York Danny Danon