The president is, symbolically, the most important person in Israel, representing Israel's sovereignty as its head of state. However, unlike the President of the United States of America, Israel's president is not the head of the government: that job belongs to the prime minister (see Prime ministers of Israel), who is, in practice, the one running the show.

The details of the presidency are spelled out in the 1964 Basic Law: The President of the State, part of Israel's unwritten constitution. The president's duties include:

Elections are held by the Knesset every seven years, and a president can serve up to two successive terms. Any Israeli resident national can become president. Candidates can be placed on the ballot up to ten days before the election: the only requirement is the approval of ten MKs. If no candidate wins a majority of 61 on the first ballot, a second vote is called for: after the second vote, the least popular candidate is removed from each subsequent runoff.

On the day that the outgoing president's tenure ends, the new president makes a Declaration of Allegiance: "I pledge myself to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and to its laws and faithfully to carry out my functions as President of the State."

The Knesset can remove the president with a three-fourths majority of the House Committee and a three-fourths majority of the entire house. If anything bad happens to the president, the Speaker of the Knesset takes over for him until new elections can be held.

The president lives in Jerusalem's Komemiut neighborhood, and has a website at http://www.president.gov.il/—his mailing address is 3 Hanassi St., 92188 Jerusalem.

NameBornTermDied
Chaim WeizmannRussia (1874)1948-19521952
Yitzhak Ben-ZviUkraine (1884)1952-19631963
Zalman ShazarRussia (1889)1963-19731973
Efraim KatzirUkraine (1916)1973-19782009
Yitzhak NavonPalestine (1921)1978-1983 
Chaim HerzogIreland (1920)1983-19931997
Ezer WeizmanPalestine (1924)1993-20002005
Moshe KatsavIran (1945)2000-2007 
Shimon PeresPoland (1923)2007-present 

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