Israel has had 12 Prime Ministers (ראש ממשלה) so far as of April 2013. Israel has a Parliamentary system of government, which means that terms of office are often shorter, or longer than the standard four years that exists in the United States.
David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister served over 13 years and Yigal Allon only 19 days. Elections (בחירות) are called when the government falls, from a no-confidence vote (הצבעה אי אמון). The same Prime Minister may be re-elected for a consecutive term, and a person can served non-consecutive terms in office. David Ben Gurion had two non consecutive terms as well as Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two Prime Ministers have died in office, Levi Eshkol and Yitzchak Rabin, who was assassinated (נרצח). When the Prime Minister is unable to conduct his duties, the Acting Prime Minister takes over. This happened when Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke and then a brain hemorrhage, Ehud Olmort took over and called new elections, which he won.
Golda Meir was the only woman so far to serve as Prime Minister, she served a long term of five years, the most notable event during her term was the Yom Kippur War (מלחמת יום כיפורים).
In 1977, after being in the opposition for 29 years, the Likud (ליכוד) with Menachem Begin as Prime Minister was elected. This was a big revolution because the Mapai and the Labor (עבודה) party had ruled Israel. Yitzchak Shamir was elected after Begin, which helped the minorities have a voice in the government.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term in office ended with a no-confidence vote about the Wye Plantation accords, but now in his second term, he has continued as Prime Minister, after a no-confidence vote but with a different Knesset (כנסת) composition.
Israel as a young country has had it’s share of memorable Prime Ministers. Each puts a unique stamp on the country. The goal (מטרה) of every Prime Minister is to make Israel a better place to live.
Vocabulary about Israel’s Prime Ministers
הצבעה אי אמון
מלחמת יום כיפורים