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Basic Law: The Knesset 

No. 5718/1958

Approved on February 12, 1958, by the Third Knesset.

 

Art. 1

The Knesset is the house of representatives of the State.

Art. 2

The seat of the Knesset is Jerusalem.

Art. 3

Upon its election the Knesset shall consist of one hundred and twenty members. 

Art. 4.

The Knesset shall be elected in general, national, direct, equal, secret, and proportional elections.

This article may only be changed by a majority of the Knesset Members.

Art. 5

Every Israeli citizen aged eighteen or over, has the right to vote in elections to the Knesset, unless a court of law has deprived him of this right on the basis of the law. The Elections Law shall determine when a person shall be considered to be eighteen years of age for the purpose of exercising the right to vote in elections to the Knesset. 

Art. 5a

A list of candidates for the Knesset shall be submitted by a party only. The manner of association and registration of parties, and the conditions for submitting a list of candidates shall be determined by law. 

 

Art. 6

a) Every Israeli citizen, who on the day of the submission of a list of candidates that includes his name, is twenty one years old or over, is entitled to be elected to the Knesset, unless a court of law has deprived him of this right by virtue of any law, or that he has been sentenced, in a final verdict, to actual imprisonment for a period of over three months, and on the day of the submission of the list of candidates seven years have not yet gone by since he finished serving his term of imprisonment, or if he has been convicted of a serious terror offence, or a serious security offence, as laid down by law, has been sentenced, in a final verdict, to actual imprisonment for a period of over seven years of imprisonment, and on the day of the submission of the list of candidates 14 years have not yet gone by since he finished serving his term of imprisonment - unless the Chairman of the Central Elections Committee has determined that the crime for which he was convicted, under the circumstances of the case, does not carry moral turpitude.

b) Annulled

c) A Knesset candidate, who has been sentence as stated in clause (a), and whose verdict was finalized after the submission of the list of candidates, and before he started serving as a Member of the Knesset, shall be treated as one, who has resigned from the list of candidates in which his name was included, or from his membership in the Knesset, as the case may be, unless the Chairman of the Central Elections Committee has determined that the crime for which he was convicted, under the circumstances of the case, does not carry moral turpitude.

d) A decision by the Chairman of the Central Elections Committee in accordance with clauses (a) and (c) shall not be required if the court has ruled, under any law, that under the circumstances of the case, the offence carries moral turpitude.

e) For the purpose of this article –

"Actual imprisonment" – the total periods of actual imprisonment, which the convicted person must serve consecutively, even if these were ruled in different sentences, including a suspended sentence that has been activated;

"Offense" – any one of the offences for which he has been sentenced to actual imprisonment.

Art. 6a

a) A Member of the Knesset, who left his parliamentary group, and did not resign from his office soon after his leaving, shall not be included, in the elections to the following Knesset, in a list of candidates submitted by a party that was represented by a parliamentary group in the outgoing Knesset. This provision shall not apply to a parliamentary group that split under circumstances prescribed by law.

b) For the purpose of this article –

"Leaving a parliamentary group" – including voting in the Knesset plenum not in accordance with the position of the parliamentary group concerning an expression of confidence in the Government, or non-confidence in it. However, voting as stated, shall not be considered as a departure if the Knesset Member did not receive any return for his voting;

"Return" – directly or indirectly, in the form of a promise or a commitment for the future, including a promise for a place on the list of Knesset candidates, or the appointment of the Knesset Member himself, or another person to any position. Who shall not be a candidate.

Art. 7

The following shall not be Knesset candidates:

1) The President of the State;

2) The two Chief Rabbis;

3) A judge;

4) A religious court judge (Dayan);

5) The State Comptroller;

6) The Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces;

7) Rabbis and clerics of other religions, holding paid office;

8) Senior civil servants and military officers of such ranks and positions as shall be determined by law;

9) Policemen and prison wardens of such ranks and positions as shall be determined by law;

10) Employees in corporations established by law of such ranks and positions as shall be determined by law; unless they have ceased to serve in that position or job, as stated, before the deadline for submitting lists of candidates for the Knesset, and should an earlier date be set by law, before the said date.

Art. 7a

a) A list of candidates shall not participation in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate in elections to the Knesset, should there explicitly or implicitly be in the goals or actions of the list, or the actions of the person, including his expressions, as the case may be, one of the following:

1) Negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;

2) Incitement to racism;

3) Support for an armed struggle by an enemy state or of a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.

a1) In connection with this article a candidate, who was illegally present in an enemy state in the seven years that preceded the deadline for submitted lists of candidates, shall be considered someone, whose actions constitute support for an armed conflict against the State of Israel, unless he has proven otherwise.

b) A decision by the Central Elections Committee to the effect that a candidate is barred from participating in elections, must be approved by the Supreme Court.

c) A candidate shall make a declaration concerning this article.

d) Details regarding the deliberation in the Central Elections Committee, and the Supreme Court, and on the matter of the declaration in accordance with clause (c), shall be prescribed by law.

Art. 8 The term of the Knesset shall be four years from the day that it was elected.

Art. 9

The elections to the Knesset shall be on the third Tuesday of the month of Heshvan in the year in which the term of the outgoing Knesset ended, but should the preceding year be a leap year, the elections shall take place on the first Tuesday of that month.

Art. 9a

a) The Knesset shall not extend its term, save by means of a law, adopted by a majority of 80 Members of the Knesset , and should special circumstances exist that prevent holding the elections on their designated date. The extension period shall not exceed the time required by the said circumstances. The election date shall be set by the said law.

b) Without detracting from the provisions of article 34. the Knesset is entitled, by a decision of a majority of its members, to advance the date of the elections set according to clause (a), as long as the new date shall not be earlier than the date for holding the elections to the Knesset in accordance with article 9.

Art. 10

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

Art. 11

The results of the elections shall be published in the Official Gazette within eight days of election day.

Art. 12

The Knesset shall convene for its first sitting, after the publication of the election results, within fourteen days from election day, on a date set by law, unless an approximate day is prescribed by law due to a day of rest, a holiday, a festival, remembrance day, or due to the proximity to one of them, or due to the intermediate days of certain Jewish holidays. 

Art. 13

Annulled

Art. 14

Arrangements for the opening session shall be prescribed by law, and shall express the character of the State of Israel and its heritage.

Art. 15

a) The Knesset Member shall declare allegiance. And these are the words of the declaration:

"I pledge myself to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and to faithfully discharge my mandate in the Knesset."

b) Arrangements for the declaration shall be laid down by law.

Art. 16

Should the Speaker of the Knesset call upon a Member of the Knesset to make the declaration of allegiance, and the Member refrained from doing so, that Member shall not enjoy the rights of a Member of the Knesset as long as he has not made the declaration.

Art. 16a

Should a Member of the Knesset hold an additional citizenship that is not Israeli, and the laws of the state of which he is a citizen enables his release from this citizenship, he shall not declare allegiance until after he has done everything required of him to be released of it, and shall not enjoy the rights of a Member of the Knesset as long as he has not made the declaration.

Art 17

Members of the Knesset shall have immunity. Details shall be prescribed by law.

Art. 18

The Knesset buildings shall be inviolable. Details shall be prescribed by law.

Art. 19

The Knesset shall determine its procedures. In so far as the procedures have not been prescribed by law, the Knesset shall lay them down in the Rules of Procedure. As long as the procedures have not been prescribed as stated, the Knesset shall act in accordance with the custom and practices accepted by it. Art. 20

a) The Knesset shall elect from among its members a Speaker and Deputy Speakers. Until the election of the Knesset Speaker, the Speaker of the outgoing Knesset shall continue to serve , should he have been reelected as a Member of the Knesset, and if he has not been reelected the most veteran Knesset Member, who is not the Prime Minister, a Minister or Deputy Minister, shall serve as acting Speaker. In this article, "most veteran" – whoever has served in the Knesset for the longest period, consecutively or intermittently, and from among those with equal seniority – the eldest among them.

b) The Knesset is entitled to lay down in its Rules of Procedure reservations to the election of a Member of the Knesset to serve as Speaker of the Knesset, or Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.

c) The Knesset is entitled, by a decision of a majority of its members, or by a larger majority prescribed by law, to suspend the Speaker of the Knesset or a deputy speaker of the Knesset, or to lay down restriction to their office. Details shall be prescribed by law.

d) The Knesset is entitled, by a decision of a majority of its members, or by a larger majority prescribed by law, to dismiss the Speaker of the Knesset or a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Details shall be prescribed by law.

Art. 20a

a) Should the Speaker of the Knesset leave the borders of the country, a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset shall act in his place, until the Speaker returns.

b) Should the Speaker of the Knesset notify the House Committee, or should the House Committee decide that for health reason the Knesset Speaker is temporarily unable to perform his duties, or should the Speaker of the Knesset announce that he is temporarily unable to perform his duties, and the House Committee has approved his announcement, a Deputy Speaker shall perform his duties, until the Knesset Speaker shall inform the House Committee, or until the House Committee shall determine that he is no longer unable to perform his duties.

c) Should the post of the Knesset Speaker become vacant – because he has resigned or has passed way, or because the House Committee has determined that for health reasons he is unable to regularly perform his duties – a Deputy Speaker shall serve as acting Knesset Speaker, until a new Speaker is elected by the Knesset

c1)

1) Should the Speaker of the Knesset be suspended from his post by a decision in accordance with article 20(c), a Deputy Speaker shall serve as acting Speaker of the Knesset, until the suspension in cancelled, or until the election of a new Knesset Speaker, as the case may be.

2) Should the Speaker of the Knesset be removed from his post in a decision in accordance with article 20(d), a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset shall serve as acting Knesset Speaker until the election of a new Speaker of the Knesset.

d) The Deputy Speaker who is to serve as a substitute of the Knesset Speaker, or as acting Knesset Speaker shall be the Deputy elected for that purpose by the House Committee.

e) While serving as substitute to the Knesset Speaker, or as acting Knesset Speaker, the Deputy Speaker shall serve in ever office designated to the Speaker of the Knesset by law, and shall exercise every power vested in the Speaker of the Knesset by law.

f) The provisions of this article shall apply, mutatis mutandis, also if the circumstances described in clauses (a), (b), (c) or (c1) regarding the Speaker of the Knesset apply to whoever serves as a substitute for the Knesset Speaker, or an acting Knesset Speaker.

Art. 21

a) The Knesset shall elect permanent Committees from among its Members, and it is also entitled to elect Committees for particular matters from among its members. The tasks of the Committees, their powers and procedures, in so far as they are not prescribed by law, shall be laid down in the Rules of Procedure.

b) Provisions may be laid down in the Rules of Procedure regarding the authority of the Committees to summon an office holder or functionary in the Civil Service, a local authority, a religious council, a corporation established by law, or a government corporation, and to require him to provide information at his disposal on the activities of the body in which he serves, unless such disclosure constitutes a breach of the law, of a professional obligation, or of a fiduciary duty to which he is bound by law, and he shall be assured rights accorded witnesses in court. The summons shall be issued by means of the Minister concerned, or with his knowledge, and in the case of someone, who is not in the Civil Service – by means of the head of the body in which the invitee serves. However, the Minister in charge, or the head of the body in which the invitee serves, is entitled to inform the Committee that he himself shall appear in place of the invitee.

c) Annulled

Art. 21a

Cancelled

Art. 22

The Knesset is entitled to appoint Committees of Inquiry, either by empowering one of its permanent Committees, or by electing a Committee from among its members, in order to investigate matters determined by the Knesset. The powers and tasks of a Committee of Inquiry shall be laid down by the Knesset. In every Committee of Inquiry there shall also be representatives of parliamentary groups that are not members of the Government, on the basis of the relative strength of the parliamentary groups in the Knesset.

Art. 23

 The status of minister or a deputy minister, who are not members of the Knesset, is the same, to all intents and purposes, to that of a minister or a deputy minister who are Members of the Knesset, but they shall not have the right to vote. 

Art.23 a

The status of a member of the Government, who is not a Knesset Member, with regards to anything connected with the Knesset, is the same as that of a member of the Government who is a Knesset Member, but he shall not have the right to vote.

Art. 24

The Knesset shall hold debates and take decisions with the participation of any number of Members, unless there is another provision on this matter in the law.

Art. 25

The Knesset shall adopt decisions by a majority of those participating in a vote, with those abstaining not being counted among those participating in the vote. The voting procedures shall be laid down in the Rules of Procedure. All this as long as there is no other provision in the law.

Art. 26

The sittings of the Knesset shall be held in the location of its seat, but under special circumstances the Speaker of the Knesset is entitled, after consulting his Deputies, to convene the Knesset elsewhere. Knesset sittings shall take place on weekdays.

Art. 27

The Knesset shall meet publicly. 

Art. 28

The publication of the proceedings Knesset sittings and whatever was said in them, shall not be restricted, and shall not entail any criminal or civil liability.

Art. 29

Annulled by Amendment No. 17

Art. 30

Annulled by Amendment No. 17 

Art. 31

Provisions concerning the periods of Knesset sessions, and the convening of the Knesset out of session, shall be prescribed by law.

Art. 32

Annulled by Amendment No. 31

Art. 33

Annulled by Amendment No. 29.

Art. 34

The Knesset shall not decide to dissolve itself before the end of its term, save by the adoption of a law on this matter by a majority of the Knesset Members.

Art 35

The law concerning the dissolution of the Knesset shall contain a provision regarding the date of elections for the following Knesset, which shall be no later than five months from the day the law is adopted.

Art. 36

Once the Knesset has decided to dissolve itself, the following Knesset shall continue to serve until the closest month of Heshvan after the termination of four years from its elections. 

Art 36a

a) Should the Budget Law fail to be adopted within three months following the commencement of the fiscal year, the day following the termination of the said period (hereinafter – the determining date) shall be regarded as if the Knesset had decided to dissolve itself before the end of its term, and early elections shall be held on the last Tuesday before the end of 90 days from the determining date, unless the Knesset has decided by a majority of its members, within five days of the determining date to hold the elections on a later date, due to the proximity of the elections date to a festival, holiday, or memorial day, but no later than 100 days after the determining date.

b) Notwithstanding the provisions of clause (a), once the President of the State has initiated proceedings for the formation of a new Government on the basis of article 30 of Basic Law: the Government. Should the Knesset declare confidence in the new Government on the basis of article 28 of Basic Law: the Government, or should a law have been adopted concerning the dissolution of the Knesset, or should elections have taken place for the Knesset, after the deadline for submitting the Budget Bill on the basis of article 3 of Basic Law: the State Economy, and before the termination of the three months from the beginning of the fiscal year, the determining date as stated in clause (a) shall be three months from the beginning of the fiscal year, or 100 days from the day the Government was formed, whichever is later. Should the Government lay the Budget Bill on the Knesset table before the 55th day from its formation, the determining day shall be 45 days from the day on which the Government laid the Bill.

Art. 37

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

Art 38

Any enactment whose validation would expire within the last two months of the term of the outgoing Knesset, or within four months after the Knesset decided to dissolve itself, or within the first three months of the term of the incoming Knesset – shall remain in force until the end of the said three months. 

Art 39

Members of the Knesset shall receive a salary as prescribed by law.

Art. 40

A Member of the Knesset is entitled to resign his office. The resignation shall be by means of a personal submission of the letter of resignation by the resigning Member to the Speaker of the Knesset, and if he is prevented from submitting it personally – by means of delivery thereof in a manner prescribed in the Rules of Procedure. The letter of resignation shall be signed on the day of the submission or delivery. 

Art. 41

The membership of a Knesset Member, who has submitted his resignation, in the Knesset shall end forty eight hours after the letter of resignation has reached the Speaker of the Knesset, unless he withdrew his resignation beforehand. Should the said period end on a day of rest, its termination shall be postponed until the following day that is not a day of rest, and all this as prescribed by law.

Art. 42

The Knesset membership or candidacy of a Knesset Member, or a candidate for the Knesset, who has been appointed to one of the positions whose holders are barred from being candidates for the Knesset, shall terminate upon his election or appointment to one of the positions as stated, as applicable. In this regard,

"Candidate for the Knesset" – anyone whose name is included in the list of candidates for the Knesset, from the day the list was submitted until the day of the commencement of his term as a Member of the Knesset.

Art. 42a

a) A Member of the Knesset, who has been convicted of a felony in a final verdict, where the court has ruled, upon its own initiative or at the request of the Attorney General, that the offence carries moral turpitude, his Knesset membership shall terminate on the day that the verdict became final, and it is immaterial whether the offence was committed while he was a Member of that Knesset, a member of a previous Knesset, or before he became a Member of the Knesset.

b) Clause (a) shall also apply to a Member of the Knesset whose verdict was finalized after he started to serve as a Member of the Knesset. A request by the Attorney General on the basis of clause (a) can be submitted as long as the verdict has not been finalized. The request shall be submitted to the court that issued the verdict, and if an appeal has been filed, to the court of appeal.

c)

1) The Knesset is entitled, by a majority of 90 Knesset Members, to decide to terminate the membership of a Knesset Member if it has determined that what is said in article 7a(a)(2) or (3) regarding a candidate, applies to him, after that Knesset was elected.

2) A decision, as stated in paragraph (1), shall be adopted on the basis of a proposal by the House Committee, which was adopted by a majority of three quarters of its members, on the basis of a request of 70 Knesset Members, at least 10 of whom are Knesset Members in parliamentary groups that are not sides to agreements, which require support of the Government.

3) The position of anyone whose membership in the Knesset was terminated on the basis of paragraph (1) shall be vacated 14 days from the day of the Knesset's decision, but in the period from the Knesset's decision to the day on which the membership shall terminate he will not be entitled to participate in the Knesset's sittings, or the meetings of a Knesset committee, save for the purpose of voting.

4) The Knesset Member is entitled to appeal to the Supreme Court on the decision of the Knesset to terminate his membership.

5) This clause shall not apply in a period of elections, as determined by law.

6) Details regarding the submission of the request, its deliberation and objections to the decision shall be laid down by law or in the Knesset Rules of procedure. 

Art. 42b

a) In the case of a Member of the Knesset, who has been convicted of a felony, and the court has ruled, upon its own initiative or at the request of the Attorney General, that the offence carries moral turpitude, shall be suspended from his membership in the Knesset from the day on which the court gave its ruling, and until the date on which the verdict became final.

b) A Member of the Knesset, who was convicted of a felony, and was sentence to imprisonment, shall be suspended from his membership in the Knesset for the period of his imprisonment.

b1) The provisions of this article shall also apply to a Member of the Knesset, who has been convicted of an offence, as stated in clauses (a) or (b), before he became a Member of the Knesset. 

Art. 42c

a) A Knesset Member, who serves as a minister or a deputy minister is entitled to terminate his membership in the Knesset on the basis of the provisions of this article. terminating the membership as stated shall be by means of a written notice to the Speaker of the Knesset, and the provisions of article 40 shall apply to it. The provisions of this article shall not apply to a Knesset Member serving as Prime Minister, his deputy, or as acting Prime Minister.

b) The Knesset membership of a member of the Knesset, who has submitted a notice as stated in clause (a) shall end within 48 hours after the notice reached the hands of the Knesset Speaker, unless he retracted from his previous notice in a written notice to the Speaker of the Knesset. Should the said period end on a rest day, it shall end on the following day that is not a rest day, and all as determined by law.

c) Should the Knesset membership of a minister or a deputy minister terminate on the basis of the provisions of this article, his membership in the Knesset to which he was elected shall be renewed, should one of the following occur:

1) He ceased to serve as a minister or a deputy minister;

2) He became Prime Minister;

3) He was placed to serve as Acting Prime Minister;

4) He became the replacement of the Prime Minister.

d) Should the Knesset membership of the Knesset Member end, and as long as it has not been renewed on the basis of this article, the Knesset membership of an additional Knesset Member elected from the same list of candidates, shall not terminate.

e)

1) Despite what is said in clause (c) a minister or a deputy minister who was a member of the Knesset and terminated his membership in the Knesset on the basis of this article, and a Member of the Knesset, who is a minister or deputy minister, who were elected from the same list of candidates, are entitled to inform the Speaker of the Knesset in a joint written notice of the renewal of the Knesset membership of the minister or deputy minister whose membership was terminated, and the termination of the service of the other Knesset Member, at the same time (in this basic law - the replacement notice).

2) The provisions of clause (b), with the required changes, shall apply to the renewal of membership and termination of membership in the Knesset in accordance with the replacement notice. However, a retraction from the replacement notice shall take place only by means of a written joint notice by the those submitting the replacement notice to the Speaker of the Knesset.

3) A Member of the Knesset, whose Knesset membership was renewed on the basis of clause (1) shall not submit an additional replacement notice during the period of the term of that Knesset.

Art. 43

a) Should the position of a Member of the Knesset fall vacant, he shall be replaced by a candidate - from the list of candidates that included his name – whose name appears first after the name of the last of the elected candidates.

b) The position of whoever has been suspended from membership in the Knesset on the basis of article 42b, shall be vacated for the period of the suspension, and he shall be replaced by the candidate as stated in clause (a). Should he resume his position, the last candidate in the list of candidates to have become a Member of the Knesset shall cease to serve, but his right to become a Member of the Knesset thereafter under clause (a) shall not be compromised.

[Clauses (c) to (f) were introduced as a temporary provision for the period of the term of the 20th Knesset, on the basis of amendment 42 and the temporary provision]:

c) The position of anyone whose Knesset membership was terminated on the basis of article 42c(a) and (b), shall be vacated, and he will be replaced by the candidate as stated in clause (a). Should his membership be renewed on the basis of article 42c(c) the provisions of the final section of clause (b) shall apply.

d) The position of anyone whose Knesset membership was terminated on the basis of the replacement notice on the basis of article 42c(e) (in this articled - the replaced Knesset Member), shall vacated, and whoever submitted the replacement notice together with him shall replace him, as stated in that article.

e) Once the membership of the replaced Knesset Member has been renewed on the basis of article 42c(c)' the provisions of the final section of clause (b) shall apply. (f) Once the membership of the replaced Knesset member has been renewed in accordance with an additional replacement notice on the basis of article 42c(e), the provisions of clause (d) shall apply.

Art. 44

Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, Emergency Regulations cannot change, temporarily suspend, or subject this law to conditions.

Art. 45

Article 44, or this article, may not be changed, save by a majority of eighty Members of the Knesset.

Art. 45a.

The provisions of article 45 shall also apply to a change of article 9a(a).

Art. 46

Under this law the majority required to change articles 4, 9a, 34, 44, or 45 shall also be required for decisions in the Knesset plenum in First Reading, Second Reading, and Third Reading. Regarding this article "change" – whether explicit or implicit.

 

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