Click on images to view
12. Who is eligible for elected office?
Every citizen aged 21 or older is eligible for election to the
Knesset, unless they are excluded by one of the exceptions under the
Examples of exceptions include:
- An individual who holds a senior official position: the President, a
Chief Rabbi, the State Comptroller, judges and senior public officials,
as well as the chief-of-staff and high-ranking military officers may
not stand for election to the Knesset unless they have resigned their
position before the elections in the period specified by law;
- Cases where a court has specifically restricted this right by virtue of a law.
According to the "Basic Law: The Knesset,"
the Central Elections Committee may prevent a candidates' list from
participating in elections if its objectives or actions, expressly or by
implication, include one of the following:
- Negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
- Negation of the democratic character of Israel;
- Incitement to racism.
This decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court, which has reversed decisions by the Central Elections Committee.
13. What is the Central Elections Committee?
The Central Elections Committee is responsible for conducting and
supervising the elections. It is headed by a Justice of the Supreme
Court, currently Justice Salim Joubran, and includes representatives of the parties holding seats in the outgoing Knesset.
14. What do polling committees do?
Regional election committees oversee the functioning of local polling
committees, which include representatives of at least three parties in
the outgoing Knesset. Anyone aged 16 or older is eligible to serve on a
15. What must parties do before the elections?
Prior to the elections, each party submits its list of candidates for the Knesset (in order of precedence).
The parties select their candidates for the Knesset in primaries or by other procedures.
Only registered parties or an alignment of two or more registered
parties can present a list of candidates and participate in the
16. How are campaigns financed?
a. The State of Israel covers most of the parties' budgets and only a
small fraction of party financing originates from sources other than
the state budget.
According to the Party Financing Law, a treasury allocation for
election campaigns is granted to the factions. Each faction receives an
allocation at the rate of one pre-defined "financing unit" per seat won
in the previous Knesset elections plus retroactively one unit per
mandate won in the new Knesset, divided by two, plus one additional
financing unit. New factions receive a similar allocation,
retroactively, based on the number of seats won in the elections.
b. The law concerning non-public financing, such as membership dues and contributions, is extremely strict and limiting
No faction may receive a contribution, directly or indirectly, from
any person or his dependents in excess of the sum established by law and
linked to the Consumer Price Index.
A faction or list of candidates may not receive a financial
contribution from someone who is not eligible to vote in the elections,
such as foreign nationals who do not also hold Israeli citizenship.
Corporations are not allowed to make donations to parties.
17. How do campaign ads meet the principle of equal opportunity?
Election broadcasts begin on television 21 days before the elections.
All election advertising is broadcast free of charge on television and
radio, although the parties are responsible for preparing the
advertisements at their own expense. Under the principle of equal
opportunity, it is prohibited to purchase broadcasting time.
The Election Law contains strict rules regarding the timing, length
and content of television and radio election broadcasts. Parties
participating in the elections receive broadcasting minutes according to
a formula set in law. Each is given a basic and equal allocation of
minutes for broadcasts on television and radio. Factions which have
candidates who served in the outgoing Knesset are allocated an
additional amount of time based on their number of former Members of
For example, each party receives 7 basic minutes of advertising on
television and an additional 2 minute per former MK. On radio, each
party list receives 15 basic minutes and 4 additional ones per outgoing
MK. Parties are also limited in the amount of inches of election
advertising they can print in newspapers.
Other restrictions on advertising include:
- No use of children under the age of 15;
- No use of the IDF that creates the impression that the army identifies with a particular party;
- No use of the names or images of victims of terrorism without their permission or that of their surviving family.
18. How is the Knesset formed?
Knesset seats are assigned in proportion to each party's percentage of the total national vote.
The number and order of members entering the new Knesset for each
party corresponds to its list of candidates as presented for election.
However, each party must receive at least a certain percentage of the
votes to enter the Knesset. Currently, the minimum qualifying threshold
to be elected is 3.25% of the total votes cast.
A party's surplus votes, which are insufficient for an additional
seat, can be transferred to another party according to agreements made between them prior to the election. If no agreement exists, the surplus
votes are distributed according to the parties' proportional sizes in
19. How is the Prime Minister chosen?
The Prime Minister is selected from among the elected Knesset
members. The President of the State assigns the task to the Knesset
member considered to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition
government in light of the Knesset election results.
20. How is the government formed?
a. The government (cabinet of ministers) is the executive authority
of the state, charged with administering internal and foreign affairs,
including security matters.
b. When a new government is to be formed, the President of the State -
after consulting with representatives of the parties elected to the
Knesset - assigns the task of forming the government to a Knesset
member. This Knesset member is usually the leader of the party with the
largest Knesset representation or the head of the party that leads a
coalition of more than 60 members.
c. Since a government requires the Knesset's confidence to function,
it must have a supporting coalition of at least 61 of the 120 Knesset
To date, no single party has received enough Knesset seats to be able
to form a government by itself; thus all Israeli governments have been
based on coalitions of several parties. Those remaining outside the
government compose the opposition.
d. The Knesset member to whom the task is assigned has a period of 28
days to form a government. The President may extend the term by an
additional period of time, not exceeding 14 days.
If this period (up to 42 days) has passed and the designated Knesset
member has not succeeded in forming a government, the President may then
assign the task of forming a government to another Knesset member. This
Knesset member has a period of 28 days for the fulfillment of the task.
There are no further extensions.
If a government still has not been formed, an absolute majority of
Knesset members (61) has the option of applying in writing to the
President, asking him to assign the task to a particular Knesset member.
Such a precedent has yet to occur.
e. When a government has been formed, the designated Prime Minister
presents it to the Knesset within 45 days of publication of election
results in the official gazette. At this time, he announces its
composition, the basic guidelines of its policy and the distribution of
functions among its ministers.
The Prime Minister then asks the Knesset for an expression of
confidence. The government is installed when the Knesset has expressed
confidence in it by a majority of 61 Knesset members. Then the new
ministers assume their offices.
the Knesset, the government is chosen for four years. Its tenure may be
shortened if the Prime Minister is unable to continue in office due to
death, resignation, permanent incapacitation, impeachment or if the
Prime Minister ceases to function as a member of the Knesset. However,
the government may appoint one of its other members who is a Knesset
member as acting Prime Minister.