Modern Middle East
Briefing Paper –Israel: Political
Who is the head of state in your country? How long has he/she been in power?
• The President of Israel is Shimon Peres and he has been in power since 15 July 2007. The Prime Minister is Binyamin Netanyahu and he has been Prime minister since 31 March 2009.
What type of government does your country have?
• Israel has a Parliamentary Democracy.
Which countries in the Middle East are your major allies?
• The only Middle Eastern Country that Israel is an ally with is Turkey.
Which countries worldwide are your major allies?
• Its other major allies include The USA, the UK, Germany, India, Canada, and China.
What major international organizations does your country belong to?
• The two major International organizations Israel belongs to are the UN and the WTO. Other organizations it is a part of include BIS, BSEC, CERN, CICA, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, SECI, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, and the WMO.
What are three major political issues that your country is dealing with at this time?
• It is currently dealing with international disputes over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is also dealing with the Arab refugees from its northern regions. The final major political issue it is dealing with illicit drug use such as heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine.
If your country has political parties, what are they and what do they stand for?
• The Kadima which stands for maximum security, Israel as a Jewish National home and the demilitarization of other states , The Likud-Ahi which stands for peace and maintaining the status quo when it comes to religion/state issues , the Yisrael Beiteinu which stands for socioeconomic benefits for immigrants and peace with Palestine , and the Labor Party which stands for social democracy , are the four biggest political parties however there are other smaller ones that include United Torah Judaism, United Arab List, National Union, Hadash, The Jewish Home, The New Movement-Meretz, and the Balad.
Who can vote in your country?
• Anyone eighteen and older. They have a system of Universal suffrage.
What is the size of your military?
• The military is about 3 million strong and it includes both men and women who are drafted into it.
Has your country fought in any wars in the last 10 years?
• Israel’s conflicts in the past ten years include a 34-day conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon in June- August 2006 and a 23-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza strip during December 2008 and January 2009.
When did your country become independent?
• Israel became an independent country on May 14, 1948. However the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday can be celebrated in April or May.
When did it last revise its constitution?
• Israel does not have a constitution, however several documents act as such including the Declaration of Establishment, The Basic Laws of Parliament, and The Israeli citizenship law. Since May 2003 the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution.
Which countries does it view as a threat or does it have conflicts with?
• Israel’s main conflict is with the Palestinian Authority, especially since HAMAS has headed the legislative council in 2005, froze relations between them.
What is the relationship between religion and the government/public sector in your country?
• Israel is a Jewish State, however groups such as the Labor Party want more freedom of religion while groups like the Kadima want Israel to be more Jewish.
In reality, does your country have freedom of the press, assembly and speech?
• In theory it does, but recent news articles have showed that woman don’t always do.
Central Intelligence Agency, CIA - The World Factbook: Israel, accessed online. 16 Nov. 2010; available from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world- factbook/geos/is.html#top; Internet.
Krusch, David J. Kadima Party, November 22, 2005, accessed 15 November 2010; available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/sharonnewparty.html
The Labor Party, accessed 15 November 2010; available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/labor.html; Internet.
Weiner, Rebecca. The Likud Party, accessed 15 November 2010; available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/LikudParty.html: Internet.
Yisrael Beiteinu, accessed 15 November 2010; available from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/Yisraelbeitenu.html: Internet.