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Knesset

The Royal Knesset of the Kingdom of Yisrael

ההכנסה המלכותית של ממלכת ישראל
Type
Type
Leadership
Majority Leader of the Knesset
Minority Leader of the Knesset
Structure
Seats142
Current composition of the Royal Knesset
Political groups
HRM Government (85)

HRM Opposition (42)

Other Opposition (15)

Elections
First-past-the-post voting
Last election
January 27, 2020
Meeting place
Yis Knesset session room pic 1.jpg
Yerushalayim, Yisrael

The Royal Knesset of Yisrael is the unicameral national legislature of the Kingdom of Yisrael. It is the legislative branch of the Kingdom and its territories. It currently has 142 members, who are elected directly by citizens who are registered voters on the 1st of Shevat on even years of the global secular calendar.

The Knesset is charged with lawmaking, declaring war or authorizing military force, the power of the purse, creating or eliminating public services, the oversight, investigation, and impeachment of sitting government officials, ratifying treaties, and providing the advise and consent for presidential appointments.

Legislation may be introduced by an individual Member of Knesset (MK) or groups of MKs. Per its parliamentary model, it elects the Leader of the Knesset from its largest or governing party after each election. The Knesset must have an election every two years. Every four years, the presidential election is run concurrently alongside the Knesset's.

The Knesset is widely-known for its unruly, polarized political atmosphere and unstable deal-making.

History

As early as the late 18th century, the influence of Arthuristan Illumination on Yisraeli elites led to debates over the establishment of an advisory or legislative body, elected by the upper strata of society, to advise and help govern the country as the Parliament of Arthurista governed with the Lord Protector of Arthurista. Numerous monarchs of the period, even liberal-minded ones, usually rebuffed such concepts, concerned about an infringement of their powers and divine right to rule.

However, by the late 1800s, a consensus among both elites and the general populace, influenced by popular consent movements in Aɣmatia, Arthurista, and Latium, advocated for some sort of elected advisory legislative body. King Meir II (1871-1909), a modernizing royal who himself had spent time in countries with these political reforms as a teenager before taking the throne, agreed.

In 1901, his royal decree created and promulgated the Knesset as an advisory body. It was elected by a limited franchise of landowners, taxpayers, property owners, and prominent rabbonim.

For most of its 19 years under the absolute monarchy, the Knesset was dominated by modernizing and liberalizing political factions such as the Constitutional Liberals and Reformists. During the Second West Scipian War and its aftermath, reactionary King Nechemia II (1909-1919) used the wartime atmosphere to restrict the Knesset's growing powers and to reorganize elections to the effect that his supportive Royalists and Conservatives took the reins of the majority in the body and blocked proposed liberal reforms.

The Con-Lib faction in the Knesset, increasingly restricted at all turns, eventually revolted, sparking the 1919 Revolution. Liberal parts of the Royal Yisraeli Army defected to an ad hoc coalition of rioters, militias, and other armed constitutional liberal supporters that within the year overthrew Nechemia II's royal government and implemented the 1920 Constitution.

The early 1920s saw the rise of the First Party System between the dominant Constitutional Liberal Party and Nechemia II's former supporters, the Royalist Conservative Party. The 1920s and 1930s saw political power anchored in the Knesset and the Prime Minister. However, this roughly twenty year period ended with the 1941 Azoulayist coup d'etat. The Knesset was suspended indefinitely and never met again until its restoration under the restored Kingdom of Yisrael in early 1952 after the Year of Blood.

Since 1952, the Knesset has become an established part of Yisraeli political life, and has been in continuous operation ever since. Since the 1950s, a number of norms and conventions have been established, both formally and informally. The party leaders of the Knesset have been organized into permanent institutions within the body, and the decades of Right Bloc and Left Bloc led coalitions effectuated a stable system of two party-guided coalition majorities within the unicameral chamber.

Role, powers, and duties

Members and elections

Qualifications

To qualify to run for the Knesset, one must be:

  • A registered voter;
  • Aged 24 or older;
  • A resident of the Knesset constituency that the candidate is running for at a minimum of six (6) months;
  • Free of a felony conviction, or if not, having had obtained a pardon by the President of Yisrael (federal felony) or District governor (non-federal felony).

Elections

The 142 members of the Knesset (MKs) are popularly elected from individual single-member electoral districts using plurality voting to concurrent two-year terms. All Yisraeli citizens 21 years or older who are properly registered to vote and not disqualified due to criminal convictions or other limiting factors may vote in legislative elections, which are conducted by secret ballot.

Officers

The party leadership of the Knesset consists of the Majority and Minority Leaders of His Royal Majesty's Government and Opposition, respectively. These positions evolved from the first sessions of Knesset under the constitutional era in the early 1920s, emerging from questions over the 1920 Constitution's mention of the Knesset being presided over by the "Leader of the Knesset," a role and description which was left frustratingly vague.

The ascendant Constitutional Liberals who took an early majority in the first of the empowered Knessets determined the "Leader of the Knesset" to be the "Majority Leader of the Knesset," which would be held by the leader of the majority party or coalition in the unicameral chamber. From this, an implied "Minority Leader" of the official opposition was also recognized by 1924.

The chairmen and -women of the various Knesset committees are also considered "Knesset officers," and these are determined by the ruling party/coalition (who control the organization of each committee). The ruling power chooses internally which of their members on the committee will fill these seats from time to time.

The current Majority Leader is Binyamin Goldschmidt (RC), who has held this position since January 11th, 2016. The current Minority Leader is Reuven Goldschmidt (AFY), who has held this role since January 27th, 2020.

The current 49th session of Knesset is the first time both party leaders have the same surname.

Legislative procedure

Current composition

Parliamentary composition since 2004

Knesset Years Knesset President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
RCP CLP TA AY AfY1 AGSW LNJ Ind. Vacan
cies
49th 2020-2022 64 14 19 17 25 1 2 0 0 Yitzchok Katz Blue-Silver-Maroon coalition +43 (to UCB's 42 seats)/
+28 (to all minority parties)
48th 2018-2020 59 42-321 16 12 0-101 8 5 0 0 Noah Feldman Blue-Gray-Maroon coalition +4/
+20 (with supply and confidence from Torah Achdus)
Knesset Years Knesset President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
RCP CLP TA AY AGSW LNJ Ind. Vacan
cies
47th 2016-2018 64 39 18 7 3 11 0 2 Noah Feldman Blue-Maroon coalition +32
46th 2014-2016 41 66 15 9 6 2 3 1 Gold-Gray-Green-White coalition +5
45th 2012-2014 64 48 16 5 43 3 2 2 Blue-Silver coalition +8
Knesset Years Knesset President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
RCP CLP TA AY4 GP YLP LNJ YCA5 Ind. Vacan
cies
44th 2010-2012 58 51 16 3 2 2 5 3 2 46 Eitan Herzog Blue-Silver coalition +2
Knesset Years Knesset President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
RCP CLP TA GP YLP LNJ YCA Ind. Vacan
cies
43rd 2008-2010 52 60 13 5 3 2 3 4 0 Eitan Herzog Gold-Green-Pink-White coalition +1
42nd 2006-2008 577 577 14 3 2 08 4 5 0 Gold-Green-Pink-White coalition +17
Knesset Years Knesset President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
RCP CLP TA GP YLP NUP YCA Ind. Vacan
cies
41st 2004-2006 46-4510 66-6710 12 5 4 29 3 3 3 Eitan Herzog Gold-Green-Pink coalition +4/+510

Footnotes
1. The Alternative for Yisrael split off from the Constitutional Liberal Party on November 7, 2019, at the end of the 48th term of Knesset and about two months from the 2020 general elections. 10 sitting Con-Lib MKs defected to the new party.
2. Torah Achdus neither sat in the opposition nor had a supply and confidence agreement with the ruling Conservatives.
3. The smaller Green Party and Yisraeli Labor Party merged together on February 8th, 2012, three weeks after the 2012 elections, combining their 4 seats (3 Greens, 1 Labor Party).
4. The Action Yisrael party was formed on May 24th, 2009, in advance of the 2010 elections.
5. The YCA was found to have illegal ties to anti-Yisrael terrorist groups the Christian Defense League and the Free Yarden Valley Catholic Front in the aftermath of the 2011 Yericho riots. Its MKs were arrested by the YeMep and the party banned under the Domestic Subversive Organizations Act before the 2012 elections.
6. None of the vacancies resulted in a change of partisan affiliation. All the seats were filled by persons of the same party.
7. Vice-President Joshua Lieberman would often be required to stay on premises for Knesset votes to cast the deciding vote due to the evenly-split Knesset between HRM Government led by the Con-Lib-Green-Labor-YCA-Indep. coalition (71) and HRM Opposition of the Conservatives and their allies the Torah Achdus party (71).
8. The Northern League, although in existence since 1974, had no won any seats since the 1980s. The party had a leadership election in February 14th, 2006, and elected David Touro as party chairman. Touro rebranded the party as "far right lite" and moderated the more extreme stances of the party as well as recruited credible right-wing activists and buildt needed campaign infrastructure in the Yarden River Valley and ethnic Tarsan Jewish areas to field successful candidates for the next election cycle.
9. The right-wing National Union merged with the Royalist Conservatives several months before the 2006 elections.
10. Avigdor Korvo, an MK from Ashkelon, party-switched several days after the election from Conservative to Con-Lib and was given a prominent role on the Knesset Appropriations Committee.

See also