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Israel Government - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: State of Israel

conventional short form: Israel

local long form: Medinat Yisra'el

local short form: Yisra'el

former: Mandatory Palestine

etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name "Israel" ("He who struggles with God") after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel

Government type

parliamentary democracy


name: Jerusalem; note - the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 without taking a position on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty

geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, Friday before the last Sunday in March; ends the last Sunday in October

etymology: Jerusalem's settlement may date back to 2800 B.C.; it is named Urushalim in Egyptian texts of the 14th century B.C.; uru-shalim likely means "foundation of [by] the god Shalim", and derives from Hebrew/Semitic yry, "to found or lay a cornerstone", and Shalim, the Canaanite god of dusk and the nether world; Shalim was associated with sunset and peace and the name is based on the same S-L-M root from which Semitic words for "peace" are derived (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew); this confluence has thus led to naming interpretations such as "The City of Peace" or "The Abode of Peace"

Administrative divisions

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


14 May 1948 (following League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May


history: no formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws, and the Law of Return (as amended)

amendments: proposed by Government of Israel ministers or by the Knesset; passage requires a majority vote of Knesset members and subject to Supreme Court judicial review; 11 of the 13 Basic Laws have been amended at least once, latest in 2020 (Basic Law: the Knesset)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Israel

dual citizenship recognized: yes, but naturalized citizens are not allowed to maintain dual citizenship

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 out of the 5 years preceding the application for naturalization

note: Israeli law (Law of Return, 5 July 1950) provides for the granting of citizenship to any Jew - defined as a person being born to a Jewish mother or having converted to Judaism while renouncing any other religion - who immigrates to and expresses a desire to settle in Israel on the basis of the Right of aliyah; the 1970 amendment of this act extended the right to family members including the spouse of a Jew, any child or grandchild, and the spouses of children and grandchildren


18 years of age; universal; 17 years of age for municipal elections

Executive branch

chief of state: President Isaac HERZOG (since 7 July 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Benyamin NETANYAHU (since 29 December 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Knesset for a single 7-year term; election last held on 2 June 2021 (next to be held in June 2028); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, tasks a Knesset member (usually the member of the largest party) with forming a new government

election results:
2021: Isaac HERZOG elected president; Knesset vote in first round - Isaac HERZOG (independent) 87, Miriam PERETZ (independent) 26, invalid/blank 7

2014: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; Knesset vote - Reuven RIVLIN (Likud) 63, Meir SHEETRIT (The Movement) 53, other/invalid 4

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed party-list proportional representation vote, with a 3.25% vote threshold to gain representation; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 1 November 2022 (next to be held in November 2026)

election results: percent by party - Likud 23.4%, Yesh Atid 17.8%, Religious Zionism (electoral alliance of Religious Zionist Party, Jewish Strength, and Noam) 10.8%, National Unity 9.1%, Shas 8.2%, UTJ 5.9%, Yisrael Beiteinu 4.5%, United Arab List 4.1%, Hadash-Ta'al 3.8%, Labor 3.7%, Meretz 3.2%, other 1.6%; seats by party - Likud 32, Yesh Atid 24, Religious Zionism 14, National Unity 12, Shas 11, UTJ 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 6, Hadash-Ta'al 5, United Arab List 5, Labor 4; composition - men 91, women 29, percentage of women 24.2%; note - following the 1 November 2022 election, the Religious Zionism Alliance split into its three constituent parties in the Knesset:  Religious Zionism 7 seats, Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) 6, and Noam 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president, deputy president, 13 justices, and 2 registrars) and normally sits in panels of 3 justices; in special cases, the panel is expanded with an uneven number of justices

judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the 9-member Judicial Selection Committee, consisting of the Minister of Justice (chair), the president of the Supreme Court, two other Supreme Court justices, 1 other Cabinet minister, 2 Knesset members, and 2 representatives of the Israel Bar Association; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; family and juvenile courts; special and Rabbinical courts

Political parties and leaders

Balad [Sami Abu SHEHADEH]
Blue and White [Benny GANTZ]
Hadash [Ayman ODEH]
Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) [Itamar Ben GVIR]
Labor Party or HaAvoda [Merav MICHAELI]
Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]
Meretz [vacant]
National Unity [alliance includes Blue and White and New Hope]
New Hope [Gideon SA'AR]
Noam [Avi MAOZ]
Religious Zionism [Bezalel SMOTRICH] (election alliance of Religious Zionist Party, Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit), and Noam)
Religious Zionist Party [Bezalel SMOTRICH]
Shas [Aryeh DERI]
Ta'al [Ahmad TIBI]
United Arab List [Mansour ABBAS]
United Torah Judaism or UTJ [Moshe GAFNI] (alliance includes Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah)
Yesh Atid [Yair LAPID]
Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]

International organization participation

BIS, BSEC (observer), CE (observer), CERN, CICA, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Michael HERZOG (since 1 December 2021)

chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500

FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacob J. LEW (since 5 November 2023)

embassy: 14 David Flusser Street, Jerusalem, 9378322

mailing address: 6350 Jerusalem Place, Washington DC  20521-6350

telephone: [972] (2) 630-4000

FAX: [972] (2) 630-4070

email address and website:

branch office(s): Tel Aviv

note: on 14 May 2018, the US Embassy relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; on 4 March 2019, Consulate General Jerusalem merged into US Embassy Jerusalem to form a single diplomatic mission

Flag description

white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Star of David or Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag; the basic design resembles a traditional Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which is white with blue stripes; the hexagram as a Jewish symbol dates back to medieval times

note: the Israeli flag proclamation states that the flag colors are sky blue and white, but the exact shade of blue has never been set and can vary from a light to a dark blue

National symbol(s)

Star of David (Magen David), menorah (seven-branched lampstand); national colors: blue, white

National anthem

name: "Hatikvah" (The Hope)

lyrics/music: Naftali Herz IMBER/traditional, arranged by Samuel COHEN

note: adopted 2004, unofficial since 1948; used as the anthem of the Zionist movement since 1897; the 1888 arrangement by Samuel COHEN is thought to be based on the Romanian folk song "Carul cu boi" (The Ox Driven Cart)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 9 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Masada; Old City of Acre; White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement; Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba; Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev; Bahá’i Holy Places; Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel; Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin; Necropolis of Bet She’arim

NOTE: The information regarding Israel on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Israel 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Israel 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.