Knesset Set to Re-Convene

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Knesset Guards, who are responsible for the security of the Knesset building and protection of MKs, rehearsing for the 19th Knesset swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.  (FLASH90)
The Knesset Guards, who are responsible for the security of the Knesset building and protection of MKs, rehearsing for the 19th Knesset swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. (FLASH90)

The 19th Knesset is scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday, while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues holding talks with party leaders to form a governing coalition.

The very diverse membership of the new Knesset will reflect some of the surprises of last month’s elections, in which some of the biggest parties, like Kadima, were virtually obliterated, and new ones, like Yesh Atid, came to the fore.

Of the 120 Knesset members, 48 will be freshmen, or 41% of the total. Another five representatives will be returning to the Knesset after various periods of absence.

By comparison, in the U.S. congressional elections of 2010, which was considered to be a big shakeup led by the Tea Party, only 86% of congressmen, or 16%, were first-time lawmakers in Washington.

The incoming Knesset is more religious than previous ones. In addition to the 11 chareidi members of Shas and seven from United Torah Judaism, 11 of the 12 Jewish Home members are religious, as are several MKs from Likud-Beiteinu, Tzipi Livni’s Movement and the Yesh Atid parties.

The empty plenum hall of the Knesset prior to Tuesday’s opening session. (FLASH90)
The empty plenum hall of the Knesset prior to Tuesday’s opening session. (FLASH90)

 

Two of the many new Knesset members: Elazar Stern (R) of the Hatnua party, with Yesh Atid MK Shimon Solomon, during orientation day for new MK’s.  (FLASH90)
Two of the many new Knesset members: Elazar Stern (R) of the Hatnua party, with Yesh Atid MK Shimon Solomon, during orientation day for new MK’s. (FLASH90)

The Knesset will include seven immigrants from the former Soviet Union, two Ethiopian immigrants and one from the U.S.

There will be 27 women, or 23%, of the Knesset, also more than the parliament has seen before.

The fact that there will only be one kibbutznik — Jewish Home’s Zvulun Kalfa — reflects the declining influence of the kibbutz movement. There were 26 kibbutznikim in the First Knesset.

Twelve members of the 19th Knesset (10%) live beyond the Green Line, as opposed to 4% of the country’s population.

There will be 11 Arabs and one Druze.