Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Prime Minister of Israel
At its founding, the State of Israel adopted the parliamentary political system, with a Prime Minister at the most powerful political leader of the government and a largely ceremonial president as head of State. According to the original Basic Law, following elections to the Knesset, the President assigns the task of forming a Government to a member of Knesset (conventionally the leader of the party that has won a plurality of Knesset seats), and this individual becomes Prime Minister after s/he successfully forms a Government that has the support of 61 members (a majority) in the Knesset. Occasionally, the title of "Premier" is used when referring to the Prime Minister.
The Basic Law was amended in 1992, providing for the direct election of the Prime Minister, separate from the Knesset election. Three elections were held under this system: 1996, 1999, and 2001. (2001 was the only time that a Prime Ministerial election was held without a Knesset election. Thus, from 2001-2003 Ariel Sharon (Likud) was Prime Minister while Labour held a plurality of Knesset seats.) In 2001, the Basic Law was amended again, abolishing direct elections and reverting to the original system. Thus, in 2003 and subsequent elections, the Prime Minister is chosen as the head of the largest party in the Knesset.
Prime Ministers of Israel (1948-Present)
A total of eleven people have served as Prime Minister of Israel. Four of those people have served on two non-consecutive occasions.
|Name||Took Office||Left Office||Party|
|1||David Ben-Gurion, 1st time||1948||1954||Mapai|
|David Ben-Gurion, 2nd time||1955||1963||Mapai|
|4||Golda Meir||1969||1974||Labour Party|
|5||Yitzhak Rabin, 1st time||1974||1977||Labour Party|
|7||Yitzhak Shamir, 1st time||1983||1984||Likud|
|8||Shimon Peres, 1st time **||1984||1986||Labour Party|
|Yitzhak Shamir, 2nd time **||1986||1992||Likud|
|Yitzhak Rabin, 2nd time||1992||1995 (assassinated while in office)||Labour Party|
|Shimon Peres, 2nd time||1995||1996||Labour Party|
|10||Ehud Barak||1999||2001||Labour Party|
(*)In 1968 Mapai merged with other parties to form the Labour Alignment (now the Israeli Labour Party)
(**)It should be noted that after the election of 1984, the Likud and Labour parties reached a coalition agreement by which the role of prime minister would be rotated mid-term between them. Shimon Peres of Labour served during the first two years as prime minister, and then the role was passed to Yitzhak Shamir. After the 1988 election Likud was able to govern without the Labour party, and Yitzhak Shamir became prime minister again.
- List of Knesset members
- List of Knesset speakers
- List of political parties in Israel
- List of Israelis
- List of Likud Knesset Members
- President of Israel
- Politics of Israel
- Basic Laws of Israel
- Law of Return
- Who is a Jew?
- Israeli Security Forces
- Site of the Prime Minister's office of Israel (English)
- Site of the Prime Minister's office of Israel (Main Page)
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