Freedom in the World
Israel’s right-leaning government made little progress in fragile peace talks with the Palestinian Authority during 2010, and lawmakers attempted to advance several controversial bills that appeared to discriminate against the country’s Arab minority. In May, Israel drew international scrutiny after its naval interception of a Turkish flotilla attempting to bring goods to the Gaza Strip resulted in several civilian deaths.
Israel is an electoral democracy. A largely ceremonial president is elected by the 120-seat Knesset for seven-year terms. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Knesset, members of which are elected by party-list proportional representation for four-year terms. At under 3 percent, Israel’s vote threshold for a party to win parliamentary representation is the world’s lowest, leading to the regular formation of niche parties and unstable coalitions.
The numerical ratings and status above reflect conditions within Israel itself. Separate reports examine the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.