The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset enacts laws, elects the prime minister (although s/he is ceremonially appointed by the President), supervises the work of the government, reserves the power to remove the President of the State and the State Comptroller from office and to dissolve itself and call new elections.
The Knesset first convened on February 14, 1949. Every 4 years (or less if early elections are held, as is often the case), 120 members of the Knesset (MK) are elected by Israeli citizens who must be at least 18 years old to vote. The Government of Israel must be approved by a majority vote of the Knesset.
The Knesset has de jure parliamentary supremacy and can pass any laws by a simple majority, even those that conflict with the Basic Laws of Israel, as it is also a Constituent Assembly. Nonetheless, the Knesset's right to function effectively has been greatly curtailed due to the inherent flaws of the low threshold party list proportional representation that usually results in a fractious government dependent on unstable coalitions. Hence, de facto, the Supreme Court of Israel has greatly expanded its authority through judicial review to nearly every aspect of Knesset legislation at the expense of the Knesset's authority. The Knesset is guarded by the Knesset Guard.
The parties in the current Knesset are shown in the table below. Those in bold are part of the governing coalition.
|National Union*-National Religious Party||9|
|United Torah Judaism**||6|
|United Arab List-Ta'al||4|
Knesset legal advisers clash over Benizri's replacement as Shas MK. Is new MK an Ethiopian, a convict or an Indian?
Apr 29, 2008; GIL HOFFMAN Jerusalem Post 04-29-2008 Headline: Knesset legal advisers clash over Benizri's replacement as Shas MK. Is new...