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Israel - Basic Law: The Knesset Index Page Document Table of Contents

    { Adopted on: 12 Feb 1958 }
    { ICL Document Status: 19 May 1987 }

 

Section 1  What the Knesset is

The Knesset is the parliament of the State532.
 

Section 2 Place of sitting

The place of sitting of the Knesset is Jerusalem.
 

Section 3 Composition

The Knesset shall, upon its election, consist of one hundred and twenty members.
 

Section 4  Electoral system

The Knesset shall be elected by general, national, direct, equal, secret and proportional elections, in accordance with the Knesset Elections Law; this section shall not be varied save by a majority of the members of the Knesset.
 

Section 5  The right to vote

Every Israel national of or over the age of eighteen years shall have the right to vote6271 in elections to the Knesset unless a court has deprived him of that right by virtue of any Law; the Elections Law shall determine the time at which a person shall be considered to be eighteen years of age for the purpose of the exercise of the right to vote in elections to the Knesset.
 

Section 6  The right to be elected

(a) Every Israel national who on the day of the admission of a candidates list containing his name is twenty-one years of age or over shall have the right to be elected to the Knesset unless a court has deprived him of that right by virtue of any Law or he has been sentenced to a penalty of actual imprisonment for a term of five years or more for an offence against the security of the State designated in that behalf by the Knesset Elections Law and five years have not yet passed since the day when he terminated his period of imprisonment.
(b) Where an Israeli national is a national also of another state, and the law of that state enables his release from its nationality, he shall not be a candidate for the Knesset unless, by the time of the submission of the candidates' list including his name and to the satisfaction of the chairman of the Knesset Central Elections Committee, he has done everything required on his part to be released therefrom.  For this purpose, a person shall not be regarded as a national of another state unless, at any time, he had a passport of that state or another document attesting to his being a national of that state.
 

Section 7  Who shall not be a candidate

The following shall not be candidates for the Knesset:
(1) the President of the State;
(2) the two Chief Rabbis;
(3) a judge, so long as he holds office;
(4) a judge of a religious court, so long as he holds office;
(5) the State Comptroller;
(6) the Chief of the General Staff of the Defence Army of Israel;
(7) rabbis and ministers of other religions while holding office for a remuneration;
(8) senior State employees and senior Army officers of such grades or ranks and in such functions as shall be determined by Law.
 

Section 7a  Prevention of Participation of Candidates List

A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
(1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state ofthe Jewish people;
(2) negation of the democratic character of the State;
(3) incitement to racism.
 

Section 8  Term of office of the Knesset

The term of office of the Knesset shall be four years from the day on which it is elected.
 

Section 9  Date of elections

The elections to the Knesset shall take place on the third Tuesday of the month of Cheshvan in the year in which the tenure of the outgoing Knesset ends, But if the year which preceded that year was a leap year, the elections shall take place on the first Tuesday of that month.
 

Section 9a  Lengthening of Period of Service

(a) The Knesset will not lengthen its period of service save by a law adopted by a majority of eighty of the Knesset members and in special circumstances that prevent the conduct of timely elections; the period of extension shall not exceed the amount of time necessitated by the said circumstances; the stated law will state the date of the elections.
(b) Without prejudice to the provisions of Section 34, the Knesset may by a decision of a majority of its members, bring forward the election date determined according to Subsection (a), provided that the new date not precede the election date for the Knesset according to Section 9.
 

Section 10  Election day to be a day of rest

Election day shall be a day of rest, but transport services and other public services shall function normally.
 

Section 11  Publication of election results

The results of the elections shall he published in Reshumot within fourteen days from election day.
 

Section 12  Convening of the Knesset

The Knesset shall convene for its first meeting on Monday in the second week following the week in which the election results are published, at four o'clock in the afternoon, or, if that day is a festival or the eve of festival, on the workday next following the festival.
 

Section 13  Opening of the Knesset

The Knesset shall be opened by the President of the State or, in his absence, by the oldest Knesset member present; if the President of the State opens the Knesset, he shall hand over the chairmanship of the meeting to the oldest Knesset member present.
 

Section 14  Declaration of allegiance by members of the Knesset

When the oldest Knesset member has opened the first meeting of the Knesset or taken over the chairmanship thereof, he shall make his declaration of allegiance as a Knesset member; the declaration shall read as follows:
"I pledge myself to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset."
When the oldest Knesset member has made his declaration of allegiance, he shall read the text once more to the members of the Knesset, and each of them in turn shall rise and declare:
"I pledge myself".
 

Section 15  Declaration after the opening meeting

A Knesset member who was not present at the opening meeting or who became a Knesset member after that meeting shall make his declaration of allegiance at the first meeting that he attends; the chairman of the meeting shall read to him the text of the declaration, and the member shall rise and declare:
"I pledge myself."
 

Section 16  Failure to make declaration

Where the Chairman of the Knesset has called upon a member of the Knesset to make his declaration of allegiance and the member has not done so, the member shall not enjoy the rights of a member of the Knesset so long as he has not made the declaration.
 

Section 17  Immunity of Knesset members

The members of the Knesset shall have immunity; particulars shall be prescribed by Law.
 

Section 18  Immunity of Knesset buildings

The building of the Knesset shall have immunity; particulars shall be prescribed by Law.
 

Section 19  Procedure and rules

The Knesset shall itself prescribe its procedure; in so far as such procedure has not been prescribed by Law, the Knesset shall prescribe it by rules; so long as the procedure has not been prescribed as aforesaid, the Knesset shall follow its accepted practice and routine.
 

Section 20  Chairman and Vice-Chairmen

The Knesset shall elect from among its members a Chairman and Vice-Chairmen.
 

Section 20a  Acting Chairman and Interim Chairman of Knesset

(a) Whenever the Chairman of the Knesset leaves the territory of the State, a Vice-Chairman shall serve as Acting Chairman until his return.  (b) Whenever the Chairman of the Knesset notifies the House Committee, or if the House Committee decides, that for reasons of health the Chairman of the Knesset is temporarily unable to carry out his functions, a Vice-Chairman shall serve as Acting Chairman until the Chairman notifies the House Committee or until the House Committee decides that the Chairman is no longer unable to carry out his functions.
(c) When the post of Chairman of the Knesset has fallen vacant - because the Chairman has resigned or has died or because the House Committee has decided that for reasons of health he is permanently unable to carry out his functions - a Vice-Chairman shall serve as Interim Chairman until the Knesset elects a new Chairman.
(d) The Vice-Chairman who is to serve as Acting Chairman or Interim Chairman of the Knesset shall be elected in that behalf by the House Committee.
(e) During his tenure as Acting Chairman or Interim Chairman of the Knesset, the Vice-Chairman shall serve in every capacity assigned to the Chairman of the Knesset by law, shall carry out every function imposed upon the Chairman of the Knesset by law and shall exercise every power vested in the Chairman of the Knesset by law.
(f) The provisions of this section shall also apply, mutatis mutandis, if the circumstances envisaged in Subsection (a), (b), or (c) with regard to the Chairman of the Knesset exist with regard to a Vice-Chairman who is serving as Acting Chairman or Interim Chairman.
 

Section 21  Committees

The Knesset shall elect from among its members permanent committees, and it may elect from among its members committees for specific matters; the functions, powers and procedure of the committees shall, in so far as they are not prescribed by Law, be prescribed by the Rules.
 

Section 22  Commissions of inquiry

The Knesset may appoint commissions of inquiry - either by empowering one of the permanent committees in that behalf orby electing a commission from among its members - to investigate matters designated by the Knesset; the powers and functions of a commission of inquiry shall be prescribed by the Knesset; every commission of inquiry shall include also representatives of party groups which do not participate in the Government, in accordance with the relative strength of the party groups in the Knesset.
 

Section 23  Government member who is not a member of the Knesset

A member of the Government who is not a member of the Knesset shall, as to everything relating to the Knesset, have the same status as a member of the Government who is a member of the Knesset, except that he shall not have the right to vote.
 

Section 24  Quorum

The Knesset shall hold debates and pass decisions whatever the number of members present save as otherwise provided by Law.
 

Section 25  Majority

Save as otherwise provided by Law, the Knesset shall pass its decisions by a majority of those participating in the voting - those abstaining not being reckoned as participating - and the voting procedure shall be prescribed by the Rules.
 

Section 26  Meetings

The meetings of the Knesset shall be held at its place of sitting: Provided that in special circumstances the Chairman of the Knesset may, in consultation with the Vice-Chairmen, convene the Knesset elsewhere.  The meetings of the Knesset shall take place on workdays.
 

Section 27  Publicity of meetings

The Knesset shall sit in public unless it has been decided, under such conditions and in such manner as has been prescribed by the Rules, that it shall sit in camera.
 

Section 28  Publication - open meetings

The publication of proceedings taken and utterances made at an open meeting is not restricted and does not entail any criminal or civil liability: Provided that the chairman of the meeting may, in such manner as has been prescribed by the Rules, prohibit the publication of anything the publication of which may, in his opinion, prejudice the security of the State.
 

Section 29  Publication - closed meetings

The publication of proceedings taken and utterances made at a closed meeting is prohibited in so far as it has not been permitted in the manner prescribed by the Rules.
 

Section 30  Prohibited publication

A person who publishes anything the publication of which is prohibited under the preceding two sections is liable to the penalties prescribed by Law.
 

Section 31  Sessions

(a) The Knesset shall hold two sessions a year; one of them shall open within four weeks after the Feast of Tabernacles, the other within four weeks after Independence Day; the aggregate duration of the two sessions shall not be less than eight months.
(b) If a Knesset has been elected otherwise than at the date prescribed in Section 9, the House Committee shall prescribe the times of the two terms in the year in which it was elected.
 

Section 32  Time for opening of sessions

If the Knesset has not been convened within the four weeks referred to in the preceding section, it shall convene on Monday in the fifth week, at four o'clock in the afternoon.
 

Section 33  Convening of the Knesset out of season

In addition to the aforementioned sessions, the Chairman of the Knesset shall convene the Knesset upon the demand of thirty members of the Knesset or upon the demand of the Government.
 

Section 34  Dissolution of the Knesset

The Knesset shall not decide to dissolve itself before the expiration of its term of office save by adopting a Law for that purpose by a majority of the Knesset members.
 

Section 35  Date of elections after dissolution of the Knesset

The Law concerning the dissolution of the Knesset shall contain a provision as to the date of the elections to the next Knesset.
 

Section 36  Term of office of the Knesset after dissolution

If the Knesset decides to dissolve itself, the term of office of the next Knesset shall run until the month of Cheshvan next following the termination of four years from the day of its election.
 

Section 37  Continuity of the Knesset

The outgoing Knesset shall continue to hold office until the convening of the incoming Knesset.
 

Section 38  Extension of validity of enactments

Any enactment due to expire during the last two months of the term of office of the outgoing Knesset or within four months after the Knesset has decided to dissolve itself or during the first three months of the term of office of the incoming Knesset shall continue in force until tile expiration of the said three months.
 

Section 39  Remuneration of members of the Knesset

The members of the Knesset shall receive a remuneration as provided by Law.
 

Section 40  Resignation of member of the Knesset

A member of the Knesset may resign his office; resignation shall be by personal presentation of a letter of resignation by the resigning member to the Chairman of the Knesset or, if the member is unable to present the letter of resignation personally, by transmission thereof in the manner prescribed by the Rules; the letter of resignation shall be signed on the day of the presentation or transmission.
 

Section 41  Consequences of resignation

If a member of the Knesset tenders his resignation, his membership of the Knesset shall cease forty-eight hours after the letter of resignation reaches the Chairman of the Knesset, unless the member withdraws resignation before then.
 

Section 42  Termination of tenure of member of the Knesset

If a member of the Knesset is elected or appointed to one of the posts the holders of which are debarred from being candidates for the Knesset, his membership of the Knesset shall cease upon the election or appointment.
 

Section 42a  Knesset Member who has been convicted

(a) The Knesset may, by resolution, remove a Knesset Member from office if it finds that he is not worthy of his office because he has been convicted, by final judgment, of a criminal offence and been sentenced to a penalty of actual imprisonment for a term of one year or more.
(b) The Knesset shall not remove a Knesset Member from office save following a complaint brought before the House Committee by at least ten Knesset Members and upon the proposal of the House Committee.  A resolution of the Knesset to remove a Knesset Member from office shall not be passed save by a two-thirds majority of the Members of the Knesset.
(c) The House Committee shall not propose, and the Knesset shall not resolve upon, the removal of a Knesset Member from office before he has been given an opportunity to be heard.
 

Section 42b  Suspension

(a) Where a Knesset Member has been convicted of a criminal offence, the House Committee may, upon the proposal of any Knesset Member, suspend him from office as a Knesset Member for the period during which the judgment is not final.
(b) Where a Knesset Member has been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment, the House Committee may, upon the proposal of any Knesset Member, suspend him from his office as a Knesset Member for the period during which he is undergoing his penalty of imprisonment.
(c) The House Committee shall not pass a resolution under this section before the Knesset Member has been given an opportunity to be heard.
 

Section 43  Replacement of Knesset member

(a) If the seat of a member of the Knesset falls vacant, it shall be filled by the candidate who, in the list of candidates which included the name of the late member, figured immediately after the last of the elected candidates.  (b) Where a person's membership of the Knesset has been suspended under Section 42b, his seat shall become vacant for the period of the suspension and his place shall be taken by the candidate referred to in Subsection (a).  If he resumes his seat, the last of the list of candidates who became a Knesset Member shall cease to hold office, but his right to become again a Knesset Member thereafter, by virtue of the provision of Subsection (a), shall not be affected thereby.
 

Section 44  Law not to be affected by emergency regulations

Notwithstanding the provision of any other law, this Law cannot be varied, suspended, or made subject to conditions, by emergency regulations.
 

Section 45  Entrenched sections

The Section 44, or this section, shall not be varied save by a majority of eighty members of the Knesset.
 

Section 45a  Entrenchment provision

The provision of Section 45 will also apply to a change according to Section 9a (a).
 

Section 46  Special majority when required

The majority required under this law for the alteration of Sections 4, 9a, 34, 44 or 45 shall be required for decisions of the Knesset plenary at every stage of law-making, except a debate on a motion for the Knesset agenda.  In this section, "variation" means both an express and an implicit variation.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - May 29th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.