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Israel: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el
CapitalJerusalem: note - Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US, like all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv Jerusalem: note - Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, ...
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, begins Friday before the last Sunday in March; ends the last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
Constitutionno formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws of the Parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law (2013)
Executive branchchief of state: President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
elections: president largely a ceremonial role and is elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term (one-term limit); election last held 10 June 2014 (next to be held in 2021 but can be called earlier); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, assigns the task of forming a governing coalition to a Knesset member whom he or she determines is most likely to accomplish that task
election results: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; number of votes in first round - Reuven RIVLIN 44, Meir SHEETRIT 31, Dalia Itzik 28, Dalia Dorner 13, other/invalid 3; number of votes in second round - Reuven RIVLIN 63, Meir SHEETRIT 53, other/invalid 3; RIVLIN will be sworn in 24 July 2014
Flag descriptionwhite 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
Independence14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court ( consists of the chief justice and 14 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the Judicial Selection Committee, made up of all three branches of the government and chaired by the Minister of Justice; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement age of 70
subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; special and religious courts
Legal systemmixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws
Legislative branchunicameral Knesset (120 seats; political parties are elected by popular vote and assigned seats for members on a proportional basis; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 22 January 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - Likud-Beiteinu (combined for electoral purposes only) 23.3%, Yesh Atid 14.3%, Labor 11.4%, The Jewish Home 9.1%, SHAS 8.7%, United Torah Judaism 5.2%, The Movement 5%, The New Movement-Meretz 4.5%, United Arab List-Ta'al 3.6%, HADASH 3%, Balad 2.6%, Kadima 2.1%; other 7.2%; seats by party - Likud-Beiteinu 31, Yesh Atid 19, Labor 15, The Jewish Home 12, SHAS 11, United Torah Judaism 7, The Movement 6, Meretz 6, United Arab List-Ta'al 4, HADASH 4, Balad 3, Kadima 2
note: Ehud BARAK and four others on 17 January 2011 split from the Labor Party and formed the Atzmaut (Independence) Party; the Labor Party holds 8 seats in the Knesset and the Independence Party holds 5 seats; Aztmaut did not submit a candidate list for the election on 22 January 2013
International organization participationBIS, BSEC (observer), CE (observer), 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 (associate), PCA, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National holidayIndependence 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
Political pressure groups and leadersB'Tselem (Jessica MONTELL, Executive Director) monitors human rights abuses
Peace Now (Yariv OPPENHEIMER, Secretary General) supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
YESHA Council (Danny DAYAN, Chairman) promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise
Breaking the Silence (Yehuda SHAUL, Executive Director) collects testimonies from soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Political parties and leadersBalad (Jamal ZAHALKA)
Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) (Muhammad BARAKEH)
Kadima (Shaul MOFAZ)
Labor Party (Yitzhak HERZOG)
Likud (Binyamin NETANYAHU)
National Union (Uri ARIEL)
The Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) (Naftali BENNETT)
The Movement (Hatnuah) (Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI)
The New Movement-Meretz (Haim ORON)
United Arab List-Ta'al (Ibrahim SARSUR)
United Torah Judaism or UTJ (Yaakov LITZMAN) (a conglomerate of three parties)
Yesh Atid (Yair LAPID)
Yisrael Beiteinu or YB (Avigdor LIEBERMAN)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeparliamentary democracy
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Ron DERMER (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 364-5500
FAX: (1) (202) 364-5647
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
National anthemname: "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)
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002
National symbol(s)Star of David (Magen David)
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Daniel B. SHAPIRO (since 8 July 2011)
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903
telephone: (972) (3) 519-7475
FAX: (972) (3) 516-4390
consulate(s) general: Jerusalem; note - an independent US mission, established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government