Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
Official State Name: State of Israel (Medinat Yisrael)
President: Yitzchak Herzog (in office since July 7, 2021)
Composition of the government: The government is appointed by the president and directed by the prime minister. The current Israeli government (the 36th government of Israel) has a total of 27 ministers and was sworn in on 6/13/2021.
Prime Minister: Naftali Bennett
Defense Minister: Benjamin Gantz
Economy Minister: Oded Forer
Education Minister: Yifat Shasha-Biton
Environment Minister: Tamar Zandberg
Finance Minister: Avigdor Lieberman
Foreign Minister: Yair Lapid
Health Minister: Nitzan Horowitz
Tourism Minister: Yoel Razvozov
Transport Minister: Merav Michaeli
Minister of Interior: Ayelet Shaked
Minister of Justice: Gideon Sa’ar
Israel is a parliamentary democracy with strong powers of the Prime Minister. It allows all citizens an unprecedented level of personal freedom and prosperity in the Middle East.
The head of state is the president elected by the parliament (Knesset) for one seven-year term. The president authorizes a member of the Knesset to form the government, signs laws and international treaties, has the right to grant amnesty, approves the appointment of judges, the governor of the central bank and the state comptroller (who heads the supreme audit office and also holds the office of ombudsman). In the last presidential election on June 2, 2021, non-partisan Yitzhak Herzog (son of the sixth president of Israel, Chaim Herzog) was elected as the eleventh president. Check equzhou to learn more about Israel political system.
The unicameral 120-member Knesset is elected for a four-year term by a nationwide proportional system. The condition for a party to enter the Knesset is to exceed the threshold of 3.25% of valid votes. The government is formed by the chairman of the winning party, or the member of parliament who has the best chance of gaining parliamentary support. The members of the government are appointed by the president, but the condition is that the member of the government must also be a member of the Knesset.
The period 2019-2021 was marked by a continuous political crisis accompanied by the disintegration and merging of various political forces, ending with the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu from the position of Prime Minister. A total of four early elections took place – the April and September 2019 elections brought a stalemate when none of the blocs was able to form a government. Netanyahu was thus only entrusted with running the country until a government with a majority in the Knesset can be formed. The March 2020 elections again led to a stalemate, but subsequently there was an agreement to create a “government of national unity”. Right-wing Likud Prime Minister Netanyahu was to head the government for the first part of the mandate, and Benny Ganz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White group, for the second. At the end of the same year, however, it was not possible to approve the state budget, which led to the fall of the government. The fourth snap election took place in March 2021. Although none of the blocs won a majority this time either, a broad coalition was formed, headed by the chairman of the right-wing group Yamina Naftali Benett. B. Netanyahu’s government ended after twelve years.
The coalition is composed of right-wing, center-right and left-wing groups. For the first time, an Arab party is participating in the government. The formation of the government was made possible by the diversion of part of the right-wing parties from Netanyahu. This is especially true of Yamina’s grouping, whose chairman Benett won the position of prime minister as a result, even though Yamina is only the third most powerful force in government. In April 2022, as a result of MP Yamina’s departure from the coalition, the government lost its majority in the Knesset. However, the existence of another parliamentary majority is necessary for the government to fall. It didn’t form. Another test of cohesion may be halfway through the cabinet’s mandate, when Benett is to be replaced as head of government by the leader of the strongest coalition party (liberal, centrist) Jair Lapid.
Foreign policy of the country
Relations with other countries For Israel, a state with a relatively small economy and a limited domestic market, foreign trade is a decisive factor for the functioning of the economy, for its growth. A significant specific feature is that Israeli companies have not been able to export much to the countries of the region (with the exception of Egypt and Jordan). It was only in 2020 that Israel established diplomatic relations with other countries of the League of Arab States, namely Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco. Until the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, Israel and Iran maintained close ties. Check recipesinthebox for Israel defense and foreign policy.
Israeli exporters/importers are thus traditionally used to doing business with countries far beyond the horizon of the immediate geographical neighborhood (USA, Asia, EU). From Israel’s point of view, the trade balance has been in deficit for a long time, from the point of view of the balance of payments, this inequality is balanced by a positive balance resulting from current transfers.
The European Union is Israel’s most important trading partner. On the political level, relations with European countries are the subject of frequent disputes, which are generated mainly from Israel’s attitude towards the Middle East peace process, from an attitude which the EU often finds to be “lacking effort”. Nevertheless, active cooperation is taking place on other levels, and since 2000, the framework of mutual relations has been determined by the Association Agreement, which practically completely liberalized trade between the EU and Israel. Israel is also involved in numerous EU scientific research programs and organizations (Horizon 2020, etc.).
The United States of America is Israel’s most important trading partner after the European Union. Israel’s close friendship with the United States has been the foundation of its foreign policy since the state’s founding. The US is also a major source of investment inflows to Israel. To fully understand the economic-strategic partnership between the two countries, it is important to understand the hard-to-quantify economic and ideological ties. The American Jewish community (almost comparable in number to the Jewish population in Israel) has a large share in both the success of Israeli exporters in the United States and Wall Street’s interest in Israeli technology firms. China is one of the few countries in the world that maintains warm relations with both Israel and the Muslim world at the same time, and is important in Israel’s foreign policy due to its global influence,
Number of inhabitants and population density: According to the latest estimates, 9.45 million inhabitants live in Israel (2021), the population density is 430 inhabitants/km2 (2021). The average annual increase was 1.6% (2021).
Demographic composition and religion: The majority of the population (73.9%) subscribe to Judaism of various orientations and varying degrees of observance of religious rules. The second largest group are Muslims (21.1%), mainly Sunnis. Minorities of Christians of various denominations (2% of the population; 80% of them are of Arab nationality) and Druze (1.6%) are significant, concentrated in several communities in the north of Israel.
Official language: The official language is Hebrew. Arabic has a special status; other commonly used languages are English and Russian.