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Election Basics

Israel’s elections for the 21st Knesset are set to be held on April 9th, 2019. You may be excited to learn that this day is a national holiday, in which most places of employment and schools will be closed. It is also important that we understand the basic election process in the Israeli election system which can be very different to what many of us were accustomed in places we lived prior to moving to Israel.  

Here is a summary of the electoral system. For other voting information, see our frequently asked questions page.

Electing the new government takes place in three phases:

Phase 1: The nation elects 120 MKs in party lists to the Knesset using proportional representation with a 3.25% threshold.

Phase 2: The newly elected MKs meet with the president, Reuven Rivlin, to nominate an MK to be Prime Minister. This is usually but not always the head of the largest party. The president will then invite whichever MK receives a plurality of nominations to form the government.

Phase 3: After being tasked with forming the government the potential prime minister needs to present a government to the Knesset for approval. A majority (61+) of MKs is needed to approve this new government. MKs that are part of the government will vote for it and those that are not part of it will vote against it and sit in the opposition.