The executive authority of the state is the government (cabinet of ministers), charged with administering internal and foreign affairs, including security matters. Its policy-making powers are very wide, and it is authorized to take action on any issue which is not legally incumbent upon another authority.
The cabinet determines its own working the formation of a government, a list of ministers for Knesset approval, together with an outline of proposed government guidelines. All the ministers must be Israeli citizens and residents of Israel and all must be Knesset members.
Once approved, the ministers are responsible to the prime minister for the fulfillment of their duties and accountable to the Knesset for their actions. Most ministers are assigned a portfolio and head a ministry; ministers who function without portfolio may be called upon to assume responsibility for special projects. The prime minister may also serve as a minister with a specific portfolio.
Ministers, with the approval of the prime minister and the government, may appoint a deputy minister in their ministry; all must be Knesset members.
Like the Knesset, the government usually serves for four years, but its term may be shortened by the resignation, incapacitation or death of the prime minister, or a vote of no-confidence by the Knesset.
If the prime minister is unable to continue in office due to death, incapacitation, resignation, or impeachment, the government appoints one of its members (who and decision-making procedures. It usually meets once a week, but additional meetings may be called as needed. It may also act through ministerial committees.
Forming a government: All governments to date have been based on coalitions of several parties, since no party has ever received enough Knesset seats to form a government by itself.
Following consultations, the president presents one Knesset member with the responsibility of forming a government. To do so, this Knesset member has to present, within 28 days of being given responsibility for must be a Knesset member) as acting prime minister.
In case of a vote of no-confidence, the government and the prime minister remain in their positions until a new government is formed.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Photo: T. Griffith)