Itzik voted in as new Knesset Speaker

Druse MK Whbee threatens not to support coalition if denied cabinet post.

The 17th Knesset made history Thursday when it unanimously elected Kadima MK Dalia Itzik to the position of speaker, marking the first time in the country's history that a woman will serve in that position. Itzik, 53, was sworn in by her longtime confidant, Interim Speaker Shimon Peres. "She comes from the nation, she represents the nation, she knows the pulse of the nation and she loves the nation," Peres said, adding, "She is a very smart woman." Itzik urged the Knesset to work together and free itself from the stains of corruption that plagued the previous House. "From this moment onward, I no longer belong to one faction," Itzik said from the podium. "My mission is to represent all sectors of the Knesset and society." Itzki was born in Jerusalem in 1952. After earning her BA in literature and history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she served as head of the Histadrut Teacher's Union for many years. Years later, she would continue her work in the field of education as deputy mayor of Jerusalem in charge of education. Prior to joining Kadima, Itzik was chairwoman of the legislative panel of the Labor Party and a member of its central committee. First elected to the Knesset in 1992, Itzik has served as environment minister, minister of industry and trade, and most recently, as minister of communications.