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How the Elections Work

Israel’s elections for the twenty-first Knesset are set to be held on April 9th, 2019. While 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 – far different to what many of us are accustomed in places we lived prior to moving to Israel.

Here is a summary of the electoral system. For other voting information, see our commonly 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. For more details on phase 1 click here.

Phase 2: The newly elected MKs meet with the president, Reuven Rivlin, to nominate any one of the MKs to be prime minister (usually the head of the largest party). The president will then invite whichever MK receives a majority of nominations to form the government. For more details on phase 2 click here.

Phase 3: After being tasked with forming the government the potential Prime Minister needs to present a government to 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.For more details of phase 3 click here.