The Security Council has five permanent veto-wielding members–the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China–and ten rotating members that serve two-year terms. The non-permanent members come from five regional groups: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean States, and the Western European and Others Group. Five seats are up for election each year.
As a Middle Eastern sate, Israel is supposed to be a member of the Aisa-Pacific Group, but predominantly Muslim states blocked its admission. In 2000, Israel was admitted as a member of the Western European and Others Group, and in 2004, its membership in that group became permanent.
Israel, which has never been a member of the Security Council, will be competing with Belgium and Germany for the two seats allotted to the Western European and Others Group. In order to win a seat, a state needs a two-thirds majority in the 193-nation General Assembly, which will likely be tough for Israel to gain. Recent General Assembly votes on Israeli-Palestinian issues have not gone Israel’s way. In November 2012, when the General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from a U.N. Observer to a Non-Member State, the Assembly voted 138 to 9 in Palestine’s favor with 41 abstentions.
Still, Israel is optimistic about their chances. “We’re going all out to win,” The country’s U.N. Ambassador, Ron Prosor, told Reuters. “It’s about time.”