The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel is a non- governmental body which incorporates all municipalities and local councils in Israel. The Federation was established in 1938, a decade before the State of Israel was established, under the name “Commonwealth of Local Authorities”. It was officially registered as an Ottoman association, and was recognized by the Mandate government as a body which represents the local Hebrew authority in the land.
All of the 24 local Hebrew authorities which existed at the time, except for the large cities, joined the “Commonwealth”. In 1953 the three large cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa joined the “Commonwealth”, and the organization was given the new name “Federation of Local Authorities”. Due to the special character of the regional councils, they did not join the organization, and had established a separate organization called the “Federation of Regional Councils in Israel”. Today all 203 municipal local authorities in Israel are members of the Federation: 75 cities and 128 additional local councils.
The main role of the Federation of Local Authorities is to represent the local authorities and to promote their interests with the Knesset [Israeli Parliament] and the different government authorities, as well as official and national institutions and organizations. For this purpose, the Federation is intensively active within the different parliamentary committees and vis-à-vis the relevant government ministries; while focusing on the legislative sphere in an attempt to regulate the responsibilities and authorities of the local authorities and the resources the government needs to allocate to it in a basic law. In addition, the Federation of Local Authorities constitutes a professional advisor and consultant to the local authorities in their different fields of activity.
The Federation of Local Authorities is registered under the Associations Law as a non-profit association. The operation of the Federation is funded by membership fees paid by the local authorities, by self-income from training and supervising activities, from the income of its two subsidiaries – the Automation Technology
Group and the Local Government Economic Services Ltd. – and from the support of Mifal Hapayis [the national lottery of Israel], which is owned by the local authorities.
The local member authorities are diverse, large and small, established and disadvantaged, Jewish, Arab, Druse and Circassian, secular and religious, and include cities in central Israel and development towns in the periphery areas. Sometimes the authorities have conflicting interests on different issues on the agenda, but the Federation of Local Authorities has been insisting along the years to maintain its unity, understanding the importance of solidarity among the different populations in the State of Israel.
An elected chairman holds the position of the head of the Federation of Local Authorities. The elections are held once every five years; they are personal and secret and are held about two months after the elections for the local authorities. At present, the Chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities is the mayor of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Mr. Haim Bibas, who was elected in January 2014. Everyone with the right to vote, as well as the two chairmen of the subsidiaries, compose the general meeting of the Federation of Local Authorities, headed by the Mayor of Migdal HaEmek, Mr. Eli Barda.