pnina rosenblum kisses.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Pnina Rosenblum ascended the Knesset podium to be sworn in as the 19th female MK Wednesday. More than 30 guests watched as the former model and cosmetics queen took the Knesset seat that she has sought for nearly eight years.
Rosenblum replaced MK Tzahi Hanegbi, who resigned his Knesset seat a week ago Wednesday to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima Party. Rumors swirled that Rosenblum, who has hesitated to announce her Likud affiliation, may soon join Hanegbi.
"I will join whichever party grants me a greater chance of being reelected," Rosenblum said. "I am not planning on only being an MK for three months."
Although three months is the official length of time for which Rosenblum is expected to hold the title of MK, her active duty in the Knesset will be much less. Including Wednesday, Rosenblum is likely to only sit in the plenum for four days before it disperses on December 21 for early elections.
After Speaker Reuven Rivlin swore Rosenblum in, she made a short speech to the plenum, pledging to work for a variety of issues ranging from women's rights to the war on drugs. Several MKs could be heard chuckling due to the short period in which she will be able to work towards those issues.
"My time is short and I won't be able to do much," Rosenblum said. "But I hope to get reelected on whichever list I run."
Rosenblum was congratulated by a number of MKs and Sharon called her Wednesday night to welcome her to the Knesset.
Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, a close friend of Rosenblum and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's wife, attended the ceremony.
"I know that, if my husband leads the Likud, Pnina [Rosenblum] will be one of many who stay in the party," said Nir-Mozes. "This is something Pnina has wanted for many years, and she is a very good person far beyond the blond exterior."
MK Ayoub Kara (Likud), who sat next to Rosenblum when she took her new seat, said she had asked his advice on staying in the Likud.
"She is very excited and uncertain of where she should be," said Kara. "She asked me what her chances were of being reelected on the Likud party list and I told her I didn't know."
Kara added that people "to the left," who supported the disengagement, should move to parties that supported those tactics. Rosenblum told the Knesset in her opening speech that her support of the disengagement was "no secret."
Rosenblum ran for the 15th Knesset at the head of an independent party that won 45,000 votes - 3,000 votes short of the required minimum to earn a spot in the Knesset. She then joined the Likud and came in 39th place on the party list - one spot short of earning a seat in the last elections.
Rosenblum was born to a working-class family in Petah Tikva. She left her modeling career at an early age to open a cosmetics company.
In 1983, Rosenblum participated in a preliminary round of the Eurovision song contest with what was to become her hit single, "Always a Woman."
Just minutes after Rosenblum took her seat, Rivlin launched a special Knesset session to honor MK Avraham Shochat (Labor), who announced several months ago that he planned to resign from the Knesset.
Shochat has repeatedly delayed his departure from the Knesset to take part in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.
"I want to thank everyone for the warm sentiments and express how happy I stand here, on the last occasion when I will address the Knesset, said Shochat. "I am proud of the nearly 40 years of service I have given this country and I am truly happy of the role I played."
Shochat began his career as a paratrooper in the IDF, entering political life when he founded the city of Arad and served as its mayor for more than two decades. He was elected to the Knesset in 1984 and served as chairman of the Finance Committee before becoming finance minister from 1992-1996. He served a second term as finance minister from July 1999 to March 2001.