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    Israel Government - 1989

      Long-form name: State of Israel

      Type: republic

      Capital: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem its capital in 1950, but the US, like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv

      Administrative divisions: 6 districts (mehozot, singular--mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv

      Independence: 14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

      Constitution: no formal constitution; some of the functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the basic laws of the Knesset (legislature)--relating to the Knesset, Israeli lands, the president, the government--and the Israel citizenship law

      Legal system: mixture of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and, in personal area, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim legal systems; commercial matters regulated substantially by codes adopted since 1948; no judicial review of legislative acts; in December 1985 Israel informed the UN Secretariat that it would no longer accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

      National holiday: Independence Day, 10 May 1989; Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May

      Branches: president has largely ceremonial functions, except for the authority to choose a political leader to form a ruling coalition (this can occur after an election or the fall of a government); executive power vested in Cabinet; unicameral parliament (Knesset) of 120 members elected under a system of proportional representation; legislation provides fundamental laws in absence of a written constitution; two distinct court systems (secular and religious)

      Leaders: @m5Chief of State--President Gen. Chaim HERZOG (since 5 May 1983); @m5Head of Government--Prime Minister Yitzhak SHAMIR (since 20 October 1986); Vice Prime Minister Shimon PERES (President from 13 September 1984 to 20 October 1986, when he rotated to Vice Prime Minister)

      Suffrage: universal over age 18

      Elections: held every four years unless required by dissolution of Knesset; last election held in November 1988; next election must be held by November 1992

      Political parties and leaders: Israel currently has a national unity government comprising five parties that hold 95 of the Knesset's 120 seats; members of the unity government--Likud bloc, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir; Labor Party, Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister Shimon Peres; Sephardic Torah Guardians (SHAS), Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yitzhak Peretz; National Religious Party, Minister of Religious Affairs Zevulun Hammer; Agudat Yisrael, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Moshe Zeev Feldman; opposition parties--Tehiya Party, Yuval Ne'eman; Tzomet Party, Rafael Eytan; Moledet Party, Rehavam Ze'evi; Degel HaTorah, Avraham Ravitz; Citizens' Rights Movement, Shulamit Aloni; United Workers' Party (MAPAM), Yair Tzaban; Center Movement-Shinui, Amnon Rubenstein; New Communist Party of Israel (RAKAH), Meir Wilner; Progressive List for Peace, Muhammad Mi'ari; Arab Democratic Party, Abd Al Wahab Darawshah

      Voting strength: Likud bloc, 40 seats; Labor Party, 39 seats; SHAS, 6 seats; National Religious Party, 5 seats; Agudat Yisrael, 5 seats; Citizens' Rights Movement, 5 seats; RAKAH, 4 seats; Tehiya Party, 3 seats; MAPAM, 3 seats; Tzomet Party, 2 seats; Moledet Party, 2 seats; Degel HaTorah, 2 seats; Center Movement-Shinui, 2 seats; Progressive List for Peace, 1 seat; Arab Democratic Party, 1 seat

      Communists: Hadash (predominantly Arab but with Jews in its leadership) has some 1,500 members

      Other political or pressure groups: Gush Emunim, Jewish nationalists advocating Jewish settlement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; Peace Now, critical of government's West Bank/Gaza Strip and Lebanon policies

      Member of: CCC, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, IDA, IDB--Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOOC, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, ITU, IWC--International Wheat Council, OAS (observer), UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO

      Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Moshe ARAD; Chancery at 3514 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 364-5500; there are Israeli Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; US--Ambassador William A. BROWN; Embassy at 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv (mailing address is APO New York 09672); telephone �972� (3) 654338; there is a US Consulate General in Jerusalem

      Flag: 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

      NOTE: The information regarding Israel on this page is re-published from the 1989 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Israel Government 1989 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Israel Government 1989 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 15-Apr-03
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