Prime Minister of Israel

The Prime Minister of Israel (Hebrew: רֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה, Rosh HaMemshala, lit. Head of the Government, Hebrew acronym: רה״מ; Arabic: رئيس الحكومة‎, Ra'īs al-Ḥukūma) is the head of government and chief executive of Israel.

Israel is a republic with a President as head of state. However, the President's powers are largely ceremonial; the Prime Minister holds the real power. The official residence of the Prime Minister, Beit Aghion, is in Jerusalem. The current Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, the ninth person to hold the position (excluding caretakers).

Following an election, the President nominates a member of the Knesset to become Prime Minister after asking party leaders whom they support for the position. The nominee has 42 days to put together a viable coalition. He then presents a government platform and must receive a vote of confidence from the Knesset in order to become Prime Minister. In practice, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the governing coalition. Between 1996 and 2001, the Prime Minister was directly elected, separately from the Knesset.[2]

Unlike most prime ministers in parliamentary republics, the Prime Minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Basic Laws of Israel explicitly vest executive power in the government, of which the Prime Minister is the leader.

Prime Minister of Israel
רֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה
Flag of the Prime Minister of Israel
Flag of the Prime Minister of Israel[1]
Benjamin Netanyahu 2018
Benjamin Netanyahu

since 31 March 2009
Prime Minister's Office
StyleHis Excellency
ResidenceBeit Aghion
AppointerPresident of Israel
Term length4 years (maximum)
Inaugural holderDavid Ben-Gurion
Formation14 May 1948
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister


The office of Prime Minister came into existence on 14 May 1948, the date of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, when the provisional government was created. David Ben-Gurion, leader of Mapai and head of the Jewish Agency, became Israel's first Prime Minister. The position became permanent on 8 March 1949, when the first government was formed. Ben-Gurion retained his role until late 1953, when he resigned in order to settle in the Kibbutz of Sde Boker. He was replaced by Moshe Sharett. However, Ben-Gurion returned in a little under two years to reclaim his position. He resigned for a second time in 1963, breaking away from Mapai to form Rafi. Levi Eshkol took over as head of Mapai and prime minister. He became the first Prime Minister to head the country under the banner of two parties when Mapai formed the Alignment with Ahdut HaAvoda in 1965. In 1968 he also became the only party leader to command an absolute majority in the Knesset, after Mapam and Rafi merged into the Alignment, giving it 63 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

On 26 February 1969, Eshkol became the first Prime Minister to die in office, and was temporarily replaced by Yigal Allon. However, Allon's stint lasted less than a month, as the party persuaded Golda Meir to return to political life and become prime minister in March 1969. Meir was Israel's first woman prime minister, and the third in the world (after Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Indira Gandhi).

Meir resigned in 1974 after the Agranat Commission published its findings on the Yom Kippur War, even though it had absolved her of blame. Yitzhak Rabin took over, though he also resigned towards the end of the eighth Knesset's term following a series of scandals. Those included the suicide of Housing Minister Avraham Ofer after police began investigating allegations that he had used party funds illegally, and the affair involving Asher Yadlin (the Governor-designate of the Bank of Israel), who was sentenced to five years in prison for having accepted bribes. Rabin's wife, Leah, was also found to have had an overseas bank account, which was illegal in Israel at the time.

Menachem Begin became the first right-wing prime minister when his Likud won the 1977 elections, and retained the post in the 1981 elections. He resigned in 1983 for health reasons, passing the reins of power to Yitzhak Shamir.

After the 1984 elections had proved inconclusive with neither the Alignment nor Likud able to form a government, a national unity government was formed with a rotating prime ministership – Shimon Peres took the first two years, and was replaced by Shamir midway through the Knesset term.

Although the 1988 elections produced another national unity government, Shamir was able to take the role alone. Peres made an abortive bid to form a left-wing government in 1990, but failed, leaving Shamir in power until 1992.

Rabin became prime minister for the second time when he led Labour to victory in the 1992 elections. After his assassination on 4 November 1995, Peres took over as prime minister.

Direct election

During the thirteenth Knesset (1992–1996) it was decided to hold a separate ballot for prime minister modeled after American presidential elections. This system was instituted in part because the Israeli electoral system makes it all but impossible for one party to win a majority. While only two parties—Mapai/Labour and Likud—had ever led governments, the large number of parties or factions in a typical Knesset usually prevents one party from winning the 61 seats needed for a majority.

In 1996, when the first such election took place, the outcome was a surprise win for Benjamin Netanyahu after election polls predicted that Peres was the winner.[3] However, in the Knesset election held at the same time, Labour won more votes than any other party (27%). Thus Netanyahu, despite his theoretical position of power, needed the support of the religious parties to form a viable government.

Ultimately Netanyahu failed to hold the government together, and early elections for both prime minister and the Knesset were called in 1999. Although five candidates announced their intention to run, the three representing minor parties (Benny Begin of Herut – The National Movement, Azmi Bishara of Balad and Yitzhak Mordechai of the Centre Party) dropped out before election day, and Ehud Barak beat Netanyahu in the election. However, the new system again appeared to have failed; although Barak's One Israel alliance (an alliance of Labour, Gesher and Meimad) won more votes than any other party in the Knesset election, they garnered only 26 seats, the lowest ever by a winning party or alliance. Barak needed to form a coalition with six smaller parties in order to form a government.

In early 2001, Barak resigned following the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada. However, the government was not brought down, and only elections for prime minister were necessary. In the election itself, Ariel Sharon of Likud comfortably beat Barak, taking 62.4% of the vote. However, because Likud only had 21 seats in the Knesset, Sharon had to form a national unity government. Following Sharon's victory, it was decided to do away with separate elections for prime minister and return to the previous system.

2003 onwards

The 2003 elections were carried out in the same manner as prior to 1996. Likud won 38 seats, the highest by a party for over a decade, and as party leader Sharon was duly appointed PM. However, towards the end of his term and largely as a result of the deep divisions within Likud over Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, Sharon broke away from his party to form Kadima, managing to maintain his position as prime minister and also becoming the first prime minister not to be a member of either Labour or Likud (or their predecessors). However, he suffered a stroke in January 2006, in the midst of election season, leading Ehud Olmert to become acting prime minister in the weeks leading to the elections. He was voted by the cabinet to be interim prime minister just after the 2006 elections, when Sharon had reached 100 days of incapacitation. He thus became Israel's third interim prime minister, only days before forming his own new government as the official Prime Minister of Israel.

In 2008, amid accusations of corruption and challenges from his own party, Olmert announced that he would resign. However his successor Tzipi Livni was unable to form a coalition government. In the election in the following year, while Kadima won the most seats, it was the Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu who was given the task of forming a government. He was able to do so, thus beginning his second term as Prime Minister of Israel.

In the 2013 election, the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu alliance emerged as the largest faction. After forming a coalition, Netanyahu secured his third prime ministership.

Order of succession

If the prime minister dies in office, the cabinet chooses an interim prime minister[4] to run the government until a new government is placed in power. Yigal Allon served as interim prime minister following Levi Eshkol's death, as did Shimon Peres following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

According to Israeli law, if a prime minister is temporarily incapacitated rather than dies (as was the case following Ariel Sharon's stroke in early 2006), power is transferred to the acting prime minister, until the prime minister recovers (Ehud Olmert took over from Sharon), for up to 100 days. If the prime minister is declared permanently incapacitated, or that period expires, the President of Israel oversees the process of assembling a new governing coalition, and in the meantime the acting prime minister or other incumbent minister is appointed by the cabinet to serve as interim prime minister.

In the case of Sharon, elections were already due to occur within 100 days of the beginning of his coma; thus, the post-election coalition-building process pre-empted the emergency provisions for the selection of a new prime minister. Nevertheless, Olmert was appointed interim prime minister on 16 April 2006, after the elections, just days before he had formed a government on 4 May 2006, to become the official prime minister.

Acting, Vice and Deputy Prime Minister

Aside from the position of Acting Prime Minister, there are also Vice Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers.

Interim government

Prime Minister's residence

During his term of office, the prime minister lives in Jerusalem. Since 1974, the official residence of the prime minister is Beit Aghion, at the corner of Balfour and Smolenskin streets in Rehavia.[5]

List of Prime Ministers of Israel

List of Prime Ministers by longevity

See also


  1. ^ Flags of the Israel Defense Forces
  2. ^ Basic Law: The Government (2001) Sections 7a, 13d.
  3. ^ Prime Minister Netanyahu. Remember? Maariv, 30 August 2005
  4. ^ Q&A: Israel's political future BBC News, 11 January 2006
  5. ^ From modesty to monstrosity Haaretz, 1 May 2009

Further reading

  • Avner, Yehuda (2010). The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership. Israel: Toby Press. ISBN 978-1-59264-278-6. OCLC 758724969.

External links

1969 in Israel

Events in the year 1969 in Israel.

Abu Abed

Abu Abed is a fictional character that forms the centerpiece of many jokes in Lebanon, though he is known throughout the Arab world. The Washington Post describes him as an "Archie Bunker-like figure who is a fumbling caricature of all the failings of the Lebanese." His full name is sometimes given as Abu Abed El Beyrouty and he is also called Abul Abed or Abu El-Abed.In illustrations, Abu Abed most notable features are a large mustache and the red fez he wears on his head. Abu Abed's best friend is Abu Steif, with whom he spends much of the day in the Kahwat El Ejeez قهوة القزاز, an actual and well-known coffee shop in central Beirut. He is sometimes claimed to be a Sunni Beiruti. One example of the literally hundreds of jokes with Abu Abed is:

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the most widely told joke among Lebanese was again about Abu Abed. The jokes goes: Abu Abed is sitting in the cafe when he calls Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, to tell him not to come north of the border or he and four of his friends will give Israel trouble. Olmert laughs and tells Abu Abed that one Israeli battalion can easily overrun his neighborhood. This verbal contest escalates until Abu Abed says that he has collected thousands of fighters armed with shoulder-fired rockets and Olmert states that Israel has two million soldiers. "'Two million?' asks Abul Abed. 'In that case I am going to have to surrender. We simply do not have enough room to keep 2 million hostages.'"

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon (Hebrew: אריאל שרון‎; IPA: [aʁiˈ(ʔ)el ʃaˈʁon] (listen), Ariʼēl Sharōn, also known by his diminutive Arik, אַריק, born Ariel Scheinermann, אריאל שיינרמן‎; 26 February 1928 – 11 January 2014) was an Israeli general and politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006.Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948. As a soldier and then an officer, he participated prominently in the 1948 Palestine war, becoming a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and taking part in many battles, including Operation Bin Nun Alef. He was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101 and the reprisal operations, as well as in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition, and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. Yitzhak Rabin has called Sharon "the greatest field commander in our history".Upon retirement from the military, Sharon entered politics, joining the Likud party, and served in a number of ministerial posts in Likud-led governments in 1977–92 and 1996–99. As Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. An official enquiry found that he bore "personal responsibility" for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and recommended that he be removed as Defense Minister. His role in the massacre led to him being known as the "Butcher of Beirut" among Arabs.From the 1970s through to the 1990s, Sharon championed construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He became the leader of the Likud in 2000, and served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006. However, as Prime Minister, in 2004–05 Sharon orchestrated Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Facing stiff opposition to this policy within the Likud, in November 2005 he left Likud to form a new party, Kadima. He had been expected to win the next election and was widely interpreted as planning on "clearing Israel out of most of the West Bank", in a series of unilateral withdrawals. After suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006, Sharon remained in a permanent vegetative state until his death in January 2014.

Beit Aghion

Beit Aghion (Hebrew: בית אגיון), also known as Beit Rosh HaMemshala (בית ראש הממשלה, lit. House of the Prime Minister) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is located at 9 Smolenskin Street, on the street corner of Balfour Street in the upscale Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, situated between the city center and Talbiya neighborhood.

Deputy leaders of Israel

Deputy leaders in Israel fall into three categories: Acting Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Vice Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister and Vice Prime Minister are honorary rather than official executive positions, but entitle the office-holder to a place in the cabinet.

Acting Prime Ministers take the place of the Prime Minister if he or she is temporarily incapacitated, while the incumbent is still in office.

If the Prime Minister is removed by impeachment, dies, or becomes permanently incapacitated, the cabinet appoints an Interim Prime Minister to serve until a new government is formed.

Golan Heights Law

The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset by a vote of 63―21, on December 14, 1981. Although the law did not use the term, it was considered by the international community and the Israeli opposition as Annexation of the Golan Heights.The law was passed half a year after the peace treaty with Egypt which included Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula.

In February 2018, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu stated that "the Golan Heights will remain Israel's forever", after his political rival Yair Lapid called on the international community to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights two months earlier.

Israeli order of precedence

The Israeli Ceremonial Protocol does not define an order of precedence. It does define, however, the group of officials that are to attend ceremonial events (Hebrew: Segel Aleph, סגל א'). This group consists of:

The President of Israel (נשיא מדינת ישראל)

The Prime Minister of Israel (ראש ממשלת ישראל)

The Speaker of the Knesset (יו"ר הכנסת)

The President of the Supreme Court of Israel (נשיא בית המשפט העליון)

The Chief Rabbis (הרבנים הראשיים לישראל)

Former Presidents of Israel (נשיאי המדינה בעבר)

Ministers of the Government

The Leader of the Opposition (יו"ר האופוזיציה)

Head of the Coalition (ראש הקואליציה)

Justices of the Supreme Court of Israel (שופטי בית המשפט העליון)

The Attorney General of Israel (היועץ המשפטי לממשלה)

The State Comptroller (מבקר המדינה)

The Governor of the Bank of Israel (נגיד בנק ישראל)

Chairman of the World Zionist Organization (יו" הנהלת ההסתדרות הציונית העולמית)

Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel (יו"ר הסוכנות היהודית לארץ ישראל)

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps (זקן הסגל הדיפלומטי)

The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (הרמטכ"ל)

The Police Commissioner (מפכ"ל המשטרה)

Members of the Knesset (חברי הכנסת)

Commander of the Prison Service, Commissioner of the Fire and Rescue Commission

Former Prime Ministers, Speakers of Knesset, Chief Rabbis, Presidents of the Supreme court and widows of former Presidents

Heads of Diplomatic Missions

Representatives of the minority communities in Israel – Christians, Muslims, Druze, and Circassians

Mayor of Jerusalem

Mark Regev

Mark Regev (Hebrew: מארק רגב‎, ) (born 1960) is an Israeli diplomat and civil servant, and the Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom since April 2016. Prior to that, he was the chief spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel, a position he held from 2007 to 2015. Originally from Australia, he moved to Israel in 1982.

Military Secretary to the Prime Minister

The Military Secretary to the Prime Minister (Hebrew: המזכיר הצבאי של ראש הממשלה‎, Ha-Mazkir Ha-Tzvaei Shel Rosh-Ha'Memshalah), is the senior military adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel on military and national security issues. As a member of the Military Staff, the position is privy to most products of the Israeli Intelligence Community. The position's current incumbent is Major-General Eyal Zamir.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

A Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Hebrew: שר במשרד ראש הממשלה‎, Sar BeMisrad Rosh HaMemshala) is a minister and member of the cabinet appointed by the Prime Minister of Israel for the purpose of being involved in various matters on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Moshe Sharett

Moshe Sharett (Hebrew: משה שרת, born Moshe Shertok (Hebrew: משה שרתוק)‎ 15 October 1894 – 7 July 1965) was the second Prime Minister of Israel (1954–55), serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms. He continued as Foreign Minister (1955–56) in the Mapai government.

President of the government

President of the government, chairman of the government, or head of the government is a term used in official statements to describe several Prime Ministers.

Croatia, Prime Minister of Croatia

Greece, Prime Minister of Greece, Πρόεδρος της Κυβέρνησης

Lebanon, Prime Minister of Lebanon

Morocco, President of the Government of Morocco

Philippines, Prime Minister of the Philippines (defunct)

Serbia, Prime Minister of Serbia

Slovenia, Prime Minister of Slovenia

Spain, Prime Minister of Spain, Presidente del Gobierno de España

Vatican City, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City StateChairman of the Government can refer to:

Russia, Prime Minister of Russia

Adjara, Chairman of the Government of Adjara

Slovakia, Prime Minister of Slovakia

Czech Republic, Prime Minister of the Czech RepublicHead of the Government can refer to:

Algeria, Prime Minister of Algeria

Tunisia, Head of Government of Tunisia

Israel, Prime Minister of Israel

Syria, Prime Minister of Syria

Prime Minister's Office (Israel)

Israeli Prime Minister's Office (Hebrew: משרד ראש הממשלה‎) is the Israeli government office responsible for coordinating the work of all governmental ministry offices and assisting the Israeli Prime Minister in his daily work.

The Prime Minister's Office is responsible for formulating the Israeli cabinet's policy, conducting its cabinet meetings, as well as responsible for the foreign diplomatic relations with countries around the world, and supervising and overseeing the implementation of the Cabinet's policy. In addition, it is in charge of other governmental bodies, which are directly under the Prime Minister responsibilities. Unlike many other countries, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel does not serve as his residence.

The official residence of the prime minister of Israel is in Beit Aghion, in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood.


Rabin is a Hebrew surname. It originates from the Hebrew word rav meaning Rabbi, and a contraction of R. Abin. The most well known bearer of the name was Yitzhak Rabin, prime minister of Israel and Nobel Peace prize Laureate.

Ramat Sharett

Ramat Sharett (Hebrew: רמת שרת) (lit. "Sharett Heights") is a neighbourhood in southwest Jerusalem, Israel, located between Ramat Denya and Beit VeGan. The neighborhood was established in 1974 and named for Moshe Sharett, Prime Minister of Israel in 1953-1955.Ramat Sharett sits 860 meters above sea level.

Security Cabinet of Israel

The State Security Cabinet (SSC) (Hebrew: הקבינט המדיני-ביטחוני‎, HaKabinet HaMedini-Bithoni) or Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs (NSAC- National Security Affairs Committee) (Hebrew: ועדת השרים לענייני ביטחון‎, Va'adat HaSarim Le'Inyanei Bitahon) is a narrow forum of "Inner Cabinet" within the Israeli Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister of Israel, with the purpose of outlining a foreign and defense policy and implementing it. This smaller forum of the cabinet members, is designated to coordinate the diplomatic negotiations, and in times of crisis, especially war, it is designed to make quick and effective decisions.

Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum

The Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum, full name: The Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of Outstanding Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations was a memorandum signed on September 4, 1999 by Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, overseen by the United States represented by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The memorandum was witnessed and co-signed by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan.

Tunahan Kuzu

Tunahan Kuzu (born 5 June 1981) is a Turkish-born Dutch politician. He is a former member of the Labour Party (PvdA). He has been an MP since 20 September 2012. On 13 November 2014 Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk left the Labour Party and formed the Group Kuzu/Öztürk, later renamed Denk ("Think"). On 18 November 2014, he became Parliamentary group leader. In the 2017 Dutch general election, the party secured three seats in the House of Representatives.

Kuzu grew up in Maassluis and studied public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He worked as a health care advisor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and was also a member of the municipal council of Rotterdam from 2008 to 2012.

Kuzu attracted international attention in September 2016 when he refused to shake the hand of Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting at the States General of the Netherlands. In a statement posted to Facebook Kuzu explained his action as a protest against human rights abuses committed against Palestinian civilians in the Palestinian territories.

Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin (; Hebrew: יצחק רבין, IPA: [jitsˈχak ʁaˈbin] (listen); 1 March 1922 – 4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995.

Rabin was born in Jerusalem to Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants and was raised in a Labor Zionist household. He learned agriculture in school and excelled as a student. He led a 27-year career as a soldier. As a teenager he joined the Palmach, the commando force of the Yishuv. He eventually rose through its ranks to become its chief of operations during Israel's War of Independence. He joined the newly formed Israel Defense Forces in late 1948 and continued to rise as a promising officer. He helped shape the training doctrine of the IDF in the early 1950s, and led the IDF's Operations Directorate from 1959 to 1963. He was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1964 and oversaw Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Rabin served as Israel's ambassador to the United States from 1968 to 1973, during a period of deepening U.S.–Israel ties. He was appointed Prime Minister of Israel in 1974, after the resignation of Golda Meir. In his first term, Rabin signed the Sinai Interim Agreement and ordered the Entebbe raid. He resigned in 1977 in the wake of a financial scandal. Rabin was Israel's minister of defense for much of the 1980s, including during the outbreak of the First Intifada.

In 1992, Rabin was re-elected as prime minister on a platform embracing the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. He signed several historic agreements with the Palestinian leadership as part of the Oslo Accords. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with long-time political rival Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Rabin also signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. In November 1995, he was assassinated by an extremist named Yigal Amir, who opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords. Amir was arrested and convicted of Rabin's murder; he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Rabin was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the only prime minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol. Rabin has become a symbol of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.

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