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Minor changes to the text and references, including new analysis of the 2019-2020 national elections.

Updated on 8 October 2020. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Knesset is the legislative body of Israel, which has been a parliamentary, unitary democracy since its foundation. It is a unicameral parliament, elected through a proportional election system that to a great extent reflects Israeli society. Because there is no written constitution, the Knesset alone delineates the three branches of government. On top of its legislative role, the Knesset also oversees the executive branch, handles political conflicts, and is in charge of decision-making. Although it is the main source of all political power in Israel and appears strong on paper, it operates under structural, legal, procedural, and historical constraints. The result is a relatively weak legislative branch in practice, in some roles more so than in others.

Keywords: Israel, parliament, Knesset, legislation, oversight, committees, opposition

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