Jason has taught Political Science courses for college. He has a doctorate in Political Science.
The Leader of Israel
The nation of Israel was created in the aftermath of World War II as a place where the world's Jews could have a homeland of their own. Since its founding, Israel has been engaged in long conflicts with surrounding Arab populations and militant terrorist groups, which has made the leader of Israel an important world leader.
This brings us to the Prime Minister of Israel, a position similar to the American president. Like the American president, the Israeli prime minister is the head of government. While there is an Israeli president, that position is largely ceremonial, since much of the real power resides with the prime minister.
Choosing a Prime Minister
The citizens of Israel do not directly vote for the prime minister. Israel has a parliamentary system of government, meaning its people vote for a parliament that selects the prime minister. But in Israel, the public doesn't vote on individual candidates. Instead, the people vote for a political party.
Seats in the Israeli legislative body, called the Knesset, (pronounced 'ka-NESS-ette') are awarded based on the percentage of the vote the party received. If a party wins the majority of Knesset seats, they would have enough votes to elect a prime minister, but no one party has ever won enough seats as of 2016. This means that a coalition of political parties must come together to agree on a prime minister.
List of Prime Ministers
In total, Israel has had eighteen prime ministers, five of whom have served non-consecutive terms. That means thirteen people have served as prime minister (PM).
|List of Prime Ministers||Years Served||Milestones|
|1. David Ben-Gurion||1949-1954||1st Israeli Prime Minister, longest serving|
|2. Moshe Sharett||1954-1955|
|3. David Ben-Gurion||1955-1963|
|4. Levi Eshkol||1963-1969||1st PM to die in office|
|5. Yigal Allon||1969||Interim PM|
|6. Golda Meir||1969-1974||1st female PM|
|7. Yitzhak Rabin||1974-1977|
|8. Menachem Begin||1977-1983||1st non-Socialist PM|
|9. Yitzhak Shamir||1983-1984|
|10. Shimon Peres||1984-1986|
|11. Yitzhak Shamir||1986-1992|
|12. Yitzhak Rabin||1992-1995||1st and only PM assassinated|
|13. Shimon Peres||1995-1996|
|14. Benjamin Netanyahu||1996-1999||1st PM born since nation of Israel's founding, youngest PM elected|
|15. Ehud Barak||1999-2001|
|16. Ariel Sharon||2005-2006|
|17. Ehud Olmert||2006-2009|
|18. Benjamin Netanyahu||2009-||Current PM|
The Importance of the Israeli Prime Minister
The Israeli Prime Minister has been one of the world's most visible leaders, not just because the PM leads the world's sole Jewish state, but because Israel is encircled by predominantly Arab countries that have had historical conflicts with the Israelis.
In fact, the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, waged a war with surrounding Arab nations in 1949, the first year of Israel's existence. Israel is also known for having one of the first female heads of government when Golda Meir became PM in 1969. Meir also presided over Israel during the Yom Kippur War when Egypt and Syria launched attacks. In 1979, Menachem Begin signed a historic peace treaty with Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat.
Israel and the Palestinians
The Palestinians live in Israel in both the Gaza Strip near Egypt and on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Israel's policy regarding them has been the focal point for many prime ministers. In 1994, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin negotiated a peace treaty called the Oslo Accords with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
An Israeli extremist, angered over the treaty, shot and killed Rabin in 1995. Due to continuing bouts of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, efforts to implement the Oslo Accords proved difficult, and ultimately the treaty was never fully realized. By 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled Israeli citizens out of the Gaza Strip and conceded it to the Palestinians, however, Israel still maintains occupancy over areas of the West Bank.
The Prime Minister of Israel Today
As of 2016, the Prime Minister of Israel is Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is part of the conservative Likud party, a political party similar to the Republican Party in the United States. Netanyahu is notable because when he was first elected, he was the youngest individual to be elected PM. Also, Netanyahu was the first elected prime minister to actually be born in the nation of Israel. All other prime ministers were born before the recognition of Israel in 1948.
The Israeli prime minister is the head of government for the nation of Israel, similar to the President of the United States. Though Israel also has a president, that person has considerably less power. The Israeli PM is not elected by the people, but instead chosen by the Knesset, Israeli's legislative body, each of whom are awarded their seat based on the percentage of the vote the political party received. As of 2016, thirteen people have served as prime minister; currently Benjamin Netanyahu serves.
Israeli was an early groundbreaker for female national leaders when it chose Golda Meir as prime minister in 1969. Lately, Israeli PMs have attempted to forge peaceful relations with old enemies. Menachem Begin signed a treaty with Egypt, but Yitzhak Rabin became the first PM to be assassinated after signing a treaty with the Palestinians called the Oslo Accords. Prime ministers of Israel to date have faced continuing conflicts with Palestinians with no lasting peace in place as of yet.
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