Basic Law: President of the State enumerates a series of duties and powers granted to the President of the State, including:
The signing of laws;
Filling the duties reserved for the President in Basic Law: The Government;
Receiving a report from the government on its meetings;
Credentialing the diplomatic envoys of the country and receiving the credentials of diplomatic representatives sent by foreign countries to Israel; Credentialing the State's consular delegates and upholding the appointment of consular delegates sent by foreign countries to Israel;
Signing treaties with foreign countries approved by the Knesset;
Carrying out any duty reserved to the President by law regarding the appointment of judges and other officials and removal of same from office.
In addition, the Basic Law gives the President the authority to pardon convicted offenders and commute their sentences.
The Basic Law goes on to state that the President "Shall carry out any other duty and enjoys any other power reserved to him by law."
Many of the President's powers are ceremonial powers in nature, but some are unique powers which leave issues to the discretion of the President of the State.
The power most identified with the President is the power of clemency. As mentioned above, the President has the power to pardon criminals and commute their sentences. Entailed in the power is the authority to limit the prison term of life prisoners. In the execution of this power the President is given wide, unique, and independent discretion.
It should be noted that the Criminal Registry Law and Returnees Regulation also grants the President the power to shorten the limitations and expunging periods set by law.
Another power left at the discretion of the President is that set by Basic Law: The Government, to appoint the members of Knesset to form a government, following consultation with the representatives of the parties in Knesset.
In addition, as mentioned above, there is a long list of laws reserving other powers and duties to the President, the main ones of which are as follows:
Appointment of judges, kadis, rabbinical court judges and military judges, which have been chosen by the selection committees set in law, who swear allegiance before the President prior to their appointment.
The appointment of the Governor of the Bank of Israel, the president of the National Academy of Science, members of the council of the Chief Rabbinate, members of the assembly of the Broadcasting Authority, members of the Higher Education Council, members of the National Council for Civilian Research and Development, members of the council of the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, the president of the "Israeli Red Magen David" society, trustees and members of the Wolf Fund board and others (selected by the appropriate authorities set in legislation).
According to the Encouragement of Ethical behavior in the Public Service Law, 5752-1992, the President is empowered to give letters of commendation to those whose complaints were found to be based in fact by the legally appointed authorities, for their contribution to maintaining ethics in public institution in Israel.
According the Knesset Law 5754-1994, the President opens a new session of the Knesset.