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Politics and Security in Israel



Government

Israel operates under a parliamentary system as a democratic republic with universal suffrage. A member of parliament supported by a parliamentary majority becomes the prime minister—usually this is the chair of the largest party.
The prime minister is the head of government and head of the cabinet. Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the Knesset. Membership of the Knesset is based on proportional representation of political parties, with a 2% electoral threshold, which in practice has resulted in coalition governments.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled every four years, but unstable coalitions or a no-confidence vote by the Knesset can dissolve a government earlier. The Basic Laws of Israel function as an uncodified constitution. In 2003, the Knesset began to draft an official constitution based on these laws. The president of Israel is head of state, with limited and largely ceremonial duties.

  • Type: Parliamentary democracy.

  • Independence: May 14, 1948.

  • Constitution: None; however, the Declaration of Independence (1948), the Basic Laws of the parliament (the Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law fill many of the functions of a constitution.

  • Political parties: Likud, Kadima, Labor, Yisrael Beiteinu and various other secular and religious parties, including some wholly or predominantly supported by Israel's Arab citizens. A total of 12 parties are represented in the 18th Knesset, elected February 2009.

  • Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Source: Wikipedia.com



Defense

Israel has the highest ratio of defense spending to GDP and as a percentage of the budget of all developed countries. The Israel Defense Forces is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Minister of Defense. The IDF consist of the army, air force and navy.
It was founded during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War by consolidating paramilitary organizations—chiefly the Haganah—that preceded the establishment of the state. The IDF also draws upon the resources of the Military Intelligence Directorate (Aman), which works with the Mossad and Shabak. The Israel Defense Forces have been involved in several major wars and border conflicts in its short history, making it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world.
Most Israelis are drafted into the military at the age of 18. Men serve three years and women two to three years. Following mandatory service, Israeli men join the reserve forces and usually do up to several weeks of reserve duty every year until their forties. Most women are exempt from reserve duty. Arab citizens of Israel (except the Druze) and those engaged in full-time religious studies are exempt from military service, although the exemption of yeshiva students has been a source of contention in Israeli society for many years.
An alternative for those who receive exemptions on various grounds is Sherut Leumi, or national service, which involves a program of service in hospitals, schools and other social welfare frameworks. As a result of its conscription program, the IDF maintains approximately 176,500 active troops and an additional 445,000 reservists.
The nation's military relies heavily on high-tech weapons systems designed and manufactured in Israel as well as some foreign imports.
Since 1967, the United States has been a particularly notable foreign contributor of military aid to Israel: the US is expected to provide the country with $3.15 billion per year from 2013–2018. The Arrow missile is one of the world's few operational anti-ballistic missile systems.
Since the Yom Kippur War, Israel has developed a network of reconnaissance satellites. The success of the Ofeq program has made Israel one of seven countries capable of launching such satellites. Since its establishment, Israel has spent a significant portion of its gross domestic product on defense. In 1984, for example, the country spent 24% of its GDP on defense. Today, that figure has dropped to 7.3%.
Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons as well as chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Israel has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity toward its nuclear capabilities. Since the Gulf War in 1991, when Israel was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles, all homes in Israel are required to have a reinforced security room impermeable to chemical and biological substances.
The IDF has also been deployed on humanitarian missions, usually involving rescue workers and medical personnel, along with relief workers and body identifiers from ZAKA and the Israel Police. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a rescue team was dispatched to Haiti, which consisted of 40 doctors, 20 nurses and rescue workers, and two rescue planes loaded with medical equipment and a field hospital with X-ray equipment, intensive care units, and operating rooms. Other recent recipients of aid include Japan (a medical team after the 2011 tsunami), Congo 2008, Sri Lanka 2005 (tsunami), India and El Salvador 2001 (earthquakes), Ethiopia 2000, Turkey 1998 (earthquake), Kosovo 1999 (refugees) and Rwanda 1994 (refugees).

Source: Wikipedia.com




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