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What is a law?

Laws are passed by the Knesset, whose primary duty is to promulgate laws that constitute the main legislation. The passing of each law is preceded by a preliminary process in which it must be approved. The process of legislation begins with a 'Bill of Law’ (referred to herein as a: 'Bill').

 

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Who can propose a Bill?

  1. The Government.  When the government initiates a bill, this is referred to as a 'Government Bill'.
  2. A Member of Knesset or group of Members of Knesset.  Such a bill is referred to as a 'Private Member's Bill'.
  3. Knesset Committees

 

A Bill may propose a completely new piece of legislation, or an amendment to an existing law, or cancellation of an existing law.  Bills are advanced in up to three stages, named 'readings', at each of which the Bill may be accepted or rejected by a vote of Knesset members present in the plenum at the time.  If it is passed at the third reading, it is published in the "Official Gazette" and becomes a law of the State of Israel.

 

The Israeli Knesset Building

The Israeli Knesset Building

 

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Where is the law published?

After the laws are accepted in a third reading a non-official version is published on the Knesset Website, and subsequently in the Official Gazette – the formal official publication of the State of Israel (for details on the Gazette see below).  The title of the Law is determined by the Knesset and the year it was passed, e.g. Non-ionizing radiation law, 5766 -2006.

 

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When does the law come into effect?

Each law must be published in the Official Gazette, and it comes into effect from the day of its official publication.

 

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What is an ‘Ordinance’?

An Ordinance is part of the main legislation of the State of Israel.  It refers to a law passed during the time of the British Mandate, before the establishment of the State, or by the temporary State Council.  The Ordinance is a law in every sense, and apart from its name it is no different from a law passed by the Knesset.  The legislature of the State of Israel contains many Ordinances that are still in effect, such as: The Torts Ordinance, The Population Health Ordinance, and others.

 

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What is a Regulation?

A Regulation is legislation for which the government is responsible by law.  It is sometimes referred to as 'secondary legislation', to distinguish it from the primary legislation promulgated by the Knesset.  A comment usually appears at the end of the Law, to the effect that "Minister X is responsible for this law and he may determine regulations for its implementation".  For example, in the Non-ionizing Radiation Law, 5766 (2006) the following appears: "The Minister responsible for the implementation of this law may, subject to authorization by the Internal Affairs and Environmental Protection Committee of the Knesset, formulate regulations for any matter concerning its implementation".  In this particular case the 'Minister responsible' is the Minister of Environmental Protection.

 

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Where are the Regulations published?

Regulations are published in the Official Gazette under the section entitled ’Regulations'.

 

What is an Administrative Guideline?

Administrative Guidelines are regulations formulated by an Administrative Authority for its own purposes, to guide it in exercising its authority or judgment.  An Administrative Authority is a body possessing authority granted by law, e.g. Municipality, National Insurance Institute, etc. The Administrative Guideline includes internal guidelines and circulars, policy, procedures, criteria, standards, internal instructions, rules, CEO circulars, etc.

 

An Administrative Guideline does not have the same status as a law or ordinance.  In contrast to these, which cannot be transgressed, an Administrative Guideline is flexible and may be contravened under certain circumstances.  Each Administrative Authority may determine its own guidelines, even in cases where the law does not specifically allow for this.  It should be noted that publication of Administrative Guidelines is not compulsory.  However, according to the Freedom of Information Law, 5758 1998, paragraph 6(a), the public authority must make available to the public, in print, the Administrative Guidelines according to which it operates and which relate to, or are of importance to the public.

 

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What is the difference between a Regulation and an Administrative Guideline?

A Regulation must be published in the Official Gazette, while an Administrative Guideline need not. 

Regulations are rigid and must be adhered to by the authority precisely and without deviation. 

Administrative Guidelines are flexible, and may be contravened under certain circumstances.

 

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What is a CEO Circular?

A CEO Circular is an administrative guideline.  It is a document formulated and distributed by the Director of a government ministry to his subalterns.  For example, the Directorial Circular of the Ministry of Education 10/5773 (2013) relating to Wi-Fi networks in schools, contains instructions and information for employees of the educational system. The circular was circulated to all educational institutions in the educational system, and obligates all its employees.

 

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Where can one find CEO Circulars?

Directorial Circulars pertaining to a specific Government Ministry may be found on that Ministry's official Website.

For example:

 

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What is a Government Resolution?

The Government holds a weekly session on Sundays.  During these sessions, Bills presented by Ministers and included on the Agenda for that session are discussed.  When a Bill is adopted it becomes a Government Resolution and the Ministers are obligated to implement it.

 

An example of a Government Resolution:  In 2006, Government Resolution 49/18 was adopted, and declared that a national information center on non-ionizing radiation and its effects on public health should be established.

 

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Where can one find the exact wording of a law or ordinance?

A book of Laws

As mentioned above, the laws and ordinances are published in the Official Gazette – the official publication of the State of Israel.  It contains all official State publications.

 

Regarding publication on the Internet:

The Knesset Website (Hebrew) – contains all laws from 1999 to date.

The Ministry of Justice Website (Hebrew) – contains, amongst other documents, full publications from the Official Gazette, from 2005 to date:

  • The Book of Laws – all laws passed by the Knesset as of 2005;
  • Government Bills;
  • Assembly of the Regulations

 

Commercial databases are accessible for a fee, and one can find up-to-date wording of a law or regulations in them.  In any case, the binding wording is that published in the Official Gazette.

 

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References

  • The Knesset Website www.knesset.gov.il (accessed on 1.1.2014)
  • Administrative guidelines: guidelines of the Legal Adviser to the Government, 1.0002 (60.013) 5762 (2002).
  • Secondary legislation: procedures and guidelines, guidelines of the Legal Adviser to the Government, 2.3100 (60.012) 5764 (2004)
  • Special High Court Sitting 10350/02. Minister of the Interior versus Matar et al פ"ד נח (3) 255      
  • Y Zamir.  The Administrative Authority (1st Edition – Hebrew, 5756, 1996).

 

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