Knesset

Knesset

Overview
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, located in Givat Ram
Givat Ram
Givat Ram is a neighborhood in central Jerusalem, Israel. Many of Israel's most important national institutions are located in Givat Ram, among them the Knesset, the Israel Museum, the National Library of Israel and the Israeli Supreme Court.-Etymology:...

, Jerusalem.

The legislative branch of the Israeli government
Politics of Israel
The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 and Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 (although the latter is ceremonially appointed by the President), approves the cabinet
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

, and supervises the work of the government. In addition, it also recommends a candidate for the State Comptroller to the President, who appoints the State Comptroller.
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Encyclopedia
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, located in Givat Ram
Givat Ram
Givat Ram is a neighborhood in central Jerusalem, Israel. Many of Israel's most important national institutions are located in Givat Ram, among them the Knesset, the Israel Museum, the National Library of Israel and the Israeli Supreme Court.-Etymology:...

, Jerusalem.

Role in Israeli Government


The legislative branch of the Israeli government
Politics of Israel
The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 and Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 (although the latter is ceremonially appointed by the President), approves the cabinet
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

, and supervises the work of the government. In addition, it also recommends a candidate for the State Comptroller to the President, who appoints the State Comptroller. It also has the power to waive the immunity of its members, remove the President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 and the State Comptroller from office, remove a Prime Minister convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude
Moral turpitude
Moral turpitude is a legal concept in the United States that refers to "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals." It appears in U.S. immigration law from the nineteenth century...

, and to dissolve itself and call new elections. The Prime Minister may dissolve the Knesset. However, until an election is completed, the Knesset maintains authority in its current composition.

Knesset members annually convene for plenary assemblies
Plenary session
Plenary session is a term often used in conferences to define the part of the conference when all members of all parties are to attend.These sessions may contain a broad range of content from keynotes to panel discussions and are not necessarily related to a specific style of delivery.The term has...

, or plenums, for two annual sittings of at least eight months' duration. The two sittings together form a session. The Knesset may be convened at any other time if thirty or more members demand this in writing or if the government requests. As well as approving or rejecting proposed legislation, the plenum also elects the Speaker and one or more Deputy Speakers.

The Knesset has de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

 parliamentary supremacy, and can pass any law by a simple majority, even one that might arguably conflict with the Basic Laws of Israel
Basic Laws of Israel
The Basic Laws of Israel are a key component of Israel's constitutional law. These laws deal with the formation and role of the principal state's institutions, and the relations between the state's authorities. Some of them also protect civil rights...

, unless the Basic Law includes specific conditions for its modification; in accordance with a plan adopted in 1950, the Basic Laws can be adopted and amended by the Knesset, acting in its capacity as a Constituent Assembly
Constituent assembly
A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

.

While the government is the sponsor of most legislation, bills can also be proposed by committees or individual members or a group of members (such a bill is known as a "private members' bill"). One meeting is set aside each week for the consideration of private members' bills. The Speaker and the Speaker's deputies decide whether to place the bills on the Knesset agenda, and have the power to block any bills that are deemed racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 or reject the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Bills go through three stages, beginning with a first reading, consisting of a general debate in the plenum, presided over by the Speaker or a Deputy Speaker. At this stage, the bill can be accepted, removed from the Knesset table, or returned to the government. If the bill is accepted, it is referred to the appropriate committee for amendments. The bill is then returned to the plenum for a second reading, where the deliberations and voting take place on each section separately. In the third and final reading, the bill is presented in its final form, as adopted in the second reading. The plenum then votes on the bill. While most votes are by a show of hands, certain cases are voted on by secret ballot or roll-call votes. If the bill passes, it is signed by the presiding Speaker, Prime Minister, President, Knesset Speaker, and the minister responsible for the law's implementation. The Minister of Justice then places the state seal on it.

In addition to the absence of a formal constitution, and with no Basic Law thus far being adopted which formally grants a power of judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 to the judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

, the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 has in recent years asserted its authority, when sitting as the High Court of Justice, to invalidate provisions of Knesset laws it has found to be inconsistent with a Basic Law.

Under Israeli law, any bill whose annual budgetary cost is over NIS 5 million, and is not supported by the government, can only be adopted with the votes of at least 50 Knesset members, at every stage of the legislation.

Committees


The Knesset is divided into committees, which amend bills on the appropriate subjects. Committee chairpersons are chosen by their members, on recommendation of the House Committee, and their factional composition represents that of the Knesset itself. Committees may elect sub-committees and delegate powers to them, or establish joint committees for issues concerning more than one committee. To further their deliberations, they invite government ministers, senior officials, and experts in the matter being discussed. Committees may request explanation and information from any relevant ministers in any matter within their competence, and the ministers or persons appointed by them must provide the explanation or information requested.

There are four types of committees in the Knesset. Permanent committees amend proposed legislation dealing with their area of expertise, and may initiate legislation. However, such legislation may only deal with Basic Laws and laws dealing with the Knesset, elections to the Knesset, Knesset members, or the State Comptroller. Special committees function in a similar manner to permanent committees, but are appointed to deal with particular manners at hand, and can be dissolved or turned into permanent committees. Parliamentary inquiry committees are appointed by the plenum to deal with issues viewed as having special national importance. In addition, there are two types of committees that convene only when needed: the Interpretations Committee, made up of the Speaker and eight members chosen by the House Committee, deals with appeals against the interpretation given by the Speaker during a sitting of the plenum to the Knesset rules of procedure or precedents, and Public Committees, established to deal with issues that are connected to the Knesset.

Permanent committees:
  • House Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Economic Affairs Committee
  • Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
    Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
    The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is a permanent Knesset committee which oversees key Foreign and Defense areas, including the drafting of legislation, supervision over related government ministries and the approval of their budgests...

  • Interior and Environment Committee
  • Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee
  • Education, Culture, and Sports Committee
  • Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee
  • Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee
  • State Control Committee
  • Committee on the Status of Women


Special committees:
  • Committee on Drug Abuse
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Committee on Foreign Workers
  • Public Petitions Committee


The other committees are the Arrangements Committee and the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee is responsible for jurisdiction over Knesset members who violate the rules of ethics of the Knesset, or involved in illegal activities outside the Knesset. Within the framework of responsibility, the Ethics Committee may place various sanctions on a member, but is not allowed to restrict a members' right to vote. The Arrangements Committee proposes the makeup of the permanent committees following each election, as well as suggesting committee chairs, lays down the sitting arrangements of political parties in the Knesset, and the distribution of rooms in the Knesset building to members and parties.

Size



The size of the Knesset, currently at 120 members, has often been a source of cause for proposed reforms. In 1996, then-Justice Minister Yossi Beilin
Yossi Beilin
Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Beilin is a left-wing Israeli politician and a former Knesset member, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Justice Minister, representing both the Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad, of which he served as chairman between 2003 and 2006. He is best known for his involvement with the...

 backed the ultimately unsuccessful institution of the so-called "Norwegian law", which would require appointed members of the cabinet to resign their seats in the Knesset and allow other members of their parties to take their positions while they serve in the cabinet; this would have resulted in more active members of the legislature being present in regular sessions and committee meetings. This proposed law has also been favored by other politicians, including Yitzhak Levy
Yitzhak Levy
Rabbi Yitzhak Levy is an Israeli rabbi and politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the National Religious Party and the Ahi faction of the National Union between 1988 and 2009...

 (who has backed the raising of total seats to 150) and current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

.

Elections



The 120 members of the Knesset (MKs) are directly elected to four-year terms, subject to calls for early elections (which are quite common). All Israeli citizens 18 years or older may vote in legislative elections, which are conducted by secret ballot
Secret ballot
The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous. The key aim is to ensure the voter records a sincere choice by forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery. The system is one means of achieving the goal of...

.

Knesset seats are allocated among the various parties using the D'Hondt method
D'Hondt method
The d'Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. The method described is named after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt who described it in 1878...

 of party list proportional representation. Israel requires a party to meet an election threshold
Election threshold
In party-list proportional representation systems, an election threshold is a clause that stipulates that a party must receive a minimum percentage of votes, either nationally or within a particular district, to obtain any seats in the parliament...

 of 2% of the overall vote to be allocated a Knesset seat. Parties select their candidates using a closed list
Closed list
Closed list describes the variant of party-list proportional representation where voters can only vote for political parties as a whole and thus have no influence on the party-supplied order in which party candidates are elected...

. Thus, voters select the party of their choice, not any specific candidate. Elections are conducted by secret ballot
Secret ballot
The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous. The key aim is to ensure the voter records a sincere choice by forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery. The system is one means of achieving the goal of...

.

In practice, the Knesset's ability to legislate has often been limited due to the consequences of Israel's low 2% threshold of eligibility for a party to obtain a seat (one of the world's lowest; though it was previously at 1%, then 1.5%). As a result, no party has ever gained a majority on its own (the most being 56 seats), and thus the government is formed on the basis of a coalition. The inherent instability of the coalitions (the average life span of an Israeli government is 25 months) results in numerous successful no-confidence motions, which automatically dissolve the Knesset and necessitates an early election call.

History


The Knesset first convened on February 14, 1949, following the 20 January elections
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

, succeeding the Assembly of Representatives that had functioned as the Jewish community's parliament during the Mandate era.

The term "Knesset" is derived from the ancient Great Assembly
Great Assembly
The Great Assembly or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah , also known as the Great Synagogue, was, according to Jewish tradition, an assembly of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism, marking a transition from...

 or Great Synagogue which according to Jewish tradition
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 was an assembly of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 – about two centuries ending c. 70 CE. There is, however, no organizational continuity and – aside from the number of members – little similarity, as the ancient Knesset was an essentially religious, completely unelected body.


The Knesset sits on a hilltop in western Jerusalem in a district known as Sheikh Badr
Sheikh Badr
Sheikh Badr was an Arab suburb village on a hilltop in west Jerusalem.-History:The village was depopulated during the 1948 Palestine War. According to British intelligence, the Haganah ordered the residents to leave on January 14, 1948. During the British Mandate of Palestine it was part of the...

 before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, now Givat Ram
Givat Ram
Givat Ram is a neighborhood in central Jerusalem, Israel. Many of Israel's most important national institutions are located in Givat Ram, among them the Knesset, the Israel Museum, the National Library of Israel and the Israeli Supreme Court.-Etymology:...

. It was financed by James A. de Rothschild
James Armand de Rothschild
James Armand Edmond de Rothschild, DCM, DL, was a French-born British politician and philanthropist, from the wealthy Rothschild international banking dynasty....

 as a gift to the State of Israel. It was built on land leased from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is the head bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III...

.

Before the construction of its permanent home, the Knesset met in the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem, the Kessem Cinema building in Tel Aviv and the Froumine building in Jerusalem.

Timeline

  • February 14, 1949: First meeting of the Constituent Assembly, Jewish Agency, Jerusalem
  • March 8, 1949 – December 14, 1949: Kessem Cinema in Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

     (Migdal HaOpera is situated there today)
  • December 26, 1949 – March 8, 1950: Jewish Agency, Jerusalem
  • March 13, 1950: Froumine Building, King George Street, Jerusalem.
  • 1950–1955: Israeli government holds architectural competitions for the permanent Knesset building
  • 1955: Government approves plans to build the Knesset in its current location
  • 1957: James A. de Rothschild informs Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
    David Ben-Gurion
    ' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

     of his desire to finance the construction of the building
  • October 14, 1958: Cornerstone-laying for new Knesset building
  • August 31, 1966: Dedication of new building (in the days of the Sixth Knesset)
  • 1981: Construction of new wing begins
  • 1992: New wing opens
  • 2005: Construction of another new wing

Knesset assemblies


Each Knesset session is known by its election number. Thus the Knesset elected by Israel's first election in 1949 is known as the First Knesset. The current Knesset, elected in 2009 is the Eighteenth Knesset.

  • First Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1949
    Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

  • Second Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1951
    Elections for the second Knesset were held in Israel on 30 July 1951. Voter turnout was 75.1%.-Results:¹ Rostam Bastuni, Avraham Berman and Moshe Sneh left Mapam and set up the Left Faction. Bastuni later returned to Mapam whilst Berman and Sneh joined Maki. Hannah Lamdan and David Livschitz left...

  • Third Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1955
    Elections for the third Knesset were held in Israel on 26 July 1955. Voter turnout was 82.8%.-Results:Mapai retained its plurality in the Knesset, although its share of the vote dropped by 5.1 and its share of seats dropped from 47 to 40...

  • Fourth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1959
    Elections for the fourth Knesset were held in Israel on 3 November 1959. Voter turnout was 81.5%.-Results:¹ The General Zionists and the Progressive Party merged to form the Liberal Party....

  • Fifth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1961
    Elections for the fifth Knesset were held in Israel on 15 August 1961. Voter turnout was 81.6%.-Results:¹ Eight MKs broke away from Mapai to establish Rafi² Herut and the Liberal Party merged to form Gahal...

  • Sixth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1965
    Elections for the sixth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1965. Voter turnout was 85.9%.-Background:Prior to the elections, two major alliances were formed; Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda united to form the Alignment, whilst Herut and the Liberal Party had formed the Gahal alliance towards the end...


  • Seventh Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1969
    Elections for the seventh Knesset were held in Israel on 28 October 1969. Voter turnout was 81.7%.-Results:¹ Meir Avizohar defected from the National List to the Alignment² Avner Shaki left the National Religious Party and remained a single MK...

  • Eighth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1973
    The Elections for the eighth Knesset were held on 31 December 1973. Voter turnout was 78.6%.-Results:1 Aryeh Eliav left the Alignment and merged with Ratz to form Ya'ad - Civil Rights Movement...

  • Ninth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1977
    The Elections for the ninth Knesset were held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, the right-wing, led by Likud, won the election, ending almost 30 years of rule by the left-wing Alignment and its predecessor, Mapai...

  • Tenth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1981
    Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat...

  • Eleventh Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1984
    Elections for the eleventh Knesset were held in Israel on 23 July 1984. Voter turnout was 78.8%. The results saw the Alignment return to being the largest party in the Knesset, a status it had lost in 1977...

  • Twelfth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1988
    Elections for the twelfth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1988. Voter turnout was 79.7%.-Results:1 Five members of the Likud left to form the Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea; after two returned, the party was renamed the New Liberal Party...


  • Thirteenth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1992
    Elections for the thirteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 23 June 1992. The result was a victory for the left, led by Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party, though their win was at least partially due to several small right-wing parties narrowly failing to cross the electoral threshold and thus effectively...

  • Fourteenth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 1996
    Elections for the fourteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 29 May 1996. Voter turnout was 79.3%.The 1996 elections included two new changes, both designed to increase the stability of the Knesset. First, the Prime Minister was to be elected on a separate ballot from the remaining members of the...

  • Fifteenth Knesset
  • Sixteenth Knesset
  • Seventeenth Knesset
  • Eighteenth Knesset
    Israeli legislative election, 2009
    Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...



Current Knesset



The composition of the current Knesset was determined by the 2009 election
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

. At present there are 18 parties represented in the Knesset on 12 lists (some parties run for election together on joint lists), and Labor has split since the Knesset convened, creating the Independence party.

The parties in the current Knesset are shown in the table below.
Party Seats
Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

28
Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

27
Yisrael Beiteinu 15
Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

11
Labor 8
United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel, two small Israeli Haredi political parties in the Knesset. It was first formed in 1992.The two parties have not always agreed with each other about policy matters...

5
Independence
Independence (Israeli political party)
Independence is a recently-established political party in Israel. It was launched by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 17 January 2011 after he and four other Labour Party MKs announced their secession from the caucus...

5
National Union
National Union (Israel)
The National Union is an alliance of nationalist political parties in Israel. In the 2009 elections the National Union consisted of four parties: Moledet, Hatikva, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, and Tkuma.-Background:...

4
Hadash
Hadash
Hadash is a Jewish and Arab socialist front of organizations that runs for the Israeli parliament. It currently has four members in the 120-seat Knesset.-Background:...

4
United Arab List
United Arab List
The United Arab List , commonly known in Israel by its Hebrew acronym Ra'am , is a political party representing and supported by Israeli Arabs...

-Ta'al
Ta'al
Ta'al is an Israeli Arab political party in Israel led by Ahmad Tibi.-History:Ta'al was founded by Tibi in the mid 1990s. It ran in the 1996 elections under the name Arab Union, but won only 2,087 votes . For the 1999 elections it ran as part of the Balad list. Tibi won a seat, and broke away from...

4
The Jewish Home
The Jewish Home
-External links:*...

3
New Movement-Meretz 3
Balad 3
Total 120

  1. United Torah Judaism is an alliance of Agudat Israel
    Agudat Israel
    Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel. It was the umbrella party for almost all ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine...

     and Degel HaTorah
    Degel HaTorah
    Degel HaTorah is an Ashkenazi Haredi political party in Israel. For much of its existence it has been allied to Agudat Yisrael under the name United Torah Judaism.-Ideology:...

    .
  2. The National Union is an alliance of Eretz Yisrael Shelanu
    Eretz Yisrael Shelanu
    Eretz Yisrael Shelanu is a far-right religious party in Israel. Founded by Chabad Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo and Baruch Marzel on 11 November, 2008 it seeks to prevent both the creation of a Palestinian state as well as the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.In 2008, in anticipation...

    , Hatikva
    Hatikva (political party)
    Hatikva is a minor political party in Israel. A secular right-wing party, it is headed by Aryeh Eldad, and forms one of the factions of the National Union alliance.Formed in late 2007, it was officially registered on 9 December 2007...

    , Moledet
    Moledet
    Moledet is a small right-wing political party in Israel. It advocates the notion of encouraging voluntary population transfer of the Arab population of the West Bank. Moledet was founded in 1988 by Rehavam Ze'evi, who headed it until his assassination by members of the PFLP in 2001, after which...

     and Tkuma. National Union and The Jewish Home announced a merger on July 7, 2010 for the next election. The combined party will be named National Union-Jewish Home.

February 2009 elections


The Knesset was reconstituted following elections in February 2009, which resulted 28 seats for Kadima, 27 for Likud, 15 for Yisrael Beiteinu, 13 for Labor, 12 for three small religious parties (5 for United Torah Judaism, 4 for National Union and 3 for Jewish Home), 11 for Shas, 7 for two Arab parties (4 for Ta'al, 3 for Balad), 4 for the non-Zionist Hadash, and 3 for the left-wing Jewish party Meretz.

Although the Central Elections Committee
Israeli Central Elections Committee
The Israeli Central Elections Committee is the body charged under the Knesset Elections Law of 1969 to carry out the elections for the upcoming Knesset. The committee is composed of Knesset members representating various parliamentary groups and is chaired by a Supreme Court Justice...

 attempted to ban the participation of the two Arab parties United Arab List-Ta'al
United Arab List
The United Arab List , commonly known in Israel by its Hebrew acronym Ra'am , is a political party representing and supported by Israeli Arabs...

 and Balad for alleged disloyalty to the state and support of Israel's enemies, the ban was, by a vote of 8 to 1, overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court, allowing the parties to participate.

Tourism


The Knesset holds morning tours in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German and Russian, on Sunday and Thursday and there are also live session viewing times on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Security



The Knesset is protected by the Knesset Guard
Knesset Guard
The Knesset Guard is an Israeli protective security unit.The Knesset Guard is responsible for the security of the Knesset building and protection of Knesset members . Guards are stationed outside the building, and ushers are on duty inside...

, a protective security unit responsible for the security of the Knesset building and Knesset members. Guards are stationed outside the building to provide armed protection, and ushers are stationed inside to maintain order. The Knesset Guard also plays a ceremonial role, participating in state ceremonies which includes greeting dignitaries on Mount Herzl
Mount Herzl
Mount Herzl , also Har HaZikaron , is the national cemetery of Israel on the west side of Jerusalem. It is named for Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism. Herzl's tomb lies at the top of the hill. Yad Vashem, which commemorates the Holocaust, lies to the west of Mt. Herzl....

 on the eve of Israeli Independence Day.

See also


  • Elections in Israel
    Elections in Israel
    Elections in Israel are based on nationwide proportional representation. The electoral threshold is currently set at 2%, with the number of seats a party receives in the Knesset being proportional to the number of votes it receives. The Knesset is elected for a four-year term, although most...

  • List of Knesset members
  • List of Knesset speakers
  • List of Likud Knesset Members
  • List of Arab members of the Knesset
  • Knesset Guard
    Knesset Guard
    The Knesset Guard is an Israeli protective security unit.The Knesset Guard is responsible for the security of the Knesset building and protection of Knesset members . Guards are stationed outside the building, and ushers are on duty inside...

  • Frumin House
    Frumin House
    Frumin House was the temporary abode of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, between 1950-1966, Prior to the Six-Day War in 1967...

    (Old Knesset)

External links