(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Some 39 new MKs are to swear allegiance to the Knesset, along with 81 veterans on Tuesday afternoon in the 20th Knesset’s celebratory first meeting.
All the MKs’ spouses were invited to the meeting, and many of the new lawmakers are bringing their whole families.
Dozens of foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and others are expected to attend.
President Reuven Rivlin is expected to enter the Knesset with fanfare and open the meeting with three knocks of a gavel and give a speech, after which he is to swear in the veteran MK – Amir Peretz of the Zionist Union – who is to serve as interim speaker. Peretz is also to give a speech.
Later in the evening, 19th Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s return to his position is expected to be confirmed. On Monday, the Likud faction voted on the phone to approve his appointment.
During the celebratory meeting, poet Erez Biton, winner of this year’s Israel Prize
for poetry, is to read Psalm 122, and a recording of first prime minister David Ben-Gurion declaring the establishment of the state is to be played.
Then, the 119 MKs – all but Peretz – are to be sworn in with the phrase: “I pledge allegiance to the State of Israel and to faithfully fulfill my mission in the Knesset.”
After that, the MKs sing Hatikva. The Joint List MKs are expected to walk out before the national anthem is sung, as they have in the past.
Next, the MKs go to the Knesset’s Chagall Hall for a toast, with speeches by Peretz, Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with musical performances by Arkadi Duchin.
The evening ends after a brief return to the plenum for Edelstein’s confirmation and the appointment of an organizing committee to oversee the Knesset’s activities until the next government is formed.
In the following Knesset meetings, beginning on Wednesday, new MKs are to give their inaugural speeches.
The 20th Knesset is tied with the eighth, 10th and 13th Knessets for having the smallest number of factions: 10. It has 29 female members, more than ever before and two more than the last one, and more Arab member than in the past; 17.