The presidency in Israel is largely ceremonial since the Prime Minister holds the executive political power. The president is chosen through a secret ballot by the members of parliament to serve a single seven-year term. Once elected, he consults the party leaders and selects a member of parliament most likely to be the Prime Minister. Typically, the post is occupied by the leader with the most seats in parliament, but it is not a constitutional requirement. A party leader requires 61 seats in parliament to form a government without a coalition, but no party has ever garnered more than 56 seats. The party leader has 42 days to negotiate with the minor parties before presenting the government to the parliament for a vote of confidence. If the proposed government is approved, the party leader becomes the Prime Minister. Once the appointee assumes office, he is constitutionally required to occupy the official residence.
Residence Of The Prime Minister Of Israel
Beit Aghion, also known as Beit Rosh HaMemshala, is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is located in Balfour Street, Jerusalem. Jewish businessman Edward Aghion built the palace in 1938, though he spent most of his time in Alexandria, Egypt. Peter II, King of Yugoslavia, lived in the building in 1941, and in 1948 it was transformed into a hospital during the Arab-Israeli conflict. The government purchased the building in 1952 and turned it into an official residence for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1974 it became the official residence of the Prime Minister. A wall was erected around the home in the 1990s, and a section of the street was closed to traffic.
The main structure is made up of several interconnected square blocks with a stairway at the center while part of the front section is modeled circularly. The Jerusalem stone coats the entire building. The palace also features an inner courtyard that is common with Islamic style structures.
Relocation Of The Residence
In February 2009, the government approved a project to unite the official residence and office of the Prime Minister by transferring the residence from Beit Aghion. The project was estimated to cost 650 million shekels ($180 million) and was heavily criticized as extravagant. A few months later the government suspended the plan, but in 2014 it was revived an approved by ministers.
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