The Knesset is the legislative branch of the Israeli government. Its name, whose Hebrew translation means literally 'the gathering' or 'the assembly, is a derivative of the ancient Great Assembly,' the gathering of 120 sages that governed the Jewish people between the end of the Biblical prophets until 200 B.C. The Knesset is the national legislature of the State of Israel and passes all of the country's laws, in addition to electing the president, approving the cabinet and supervising governmental work. The Knesset functions as the unicameral national legislature in Israel in a parliamentary manner, with elections forming members of Knesset (MKs) held at least every fourth year. Knesset history The Knesset first convened on February 14th, 1949, taking over for transitional governments that had existed since Israel declared independence on May 14th, 1948, and met in the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem. Between March and December of that year the legislature was moved to Tel Aviv, the only period the Knesset was not seated in Jerusalem. Following a four-month return to the Jewish Agency building, the Knesset moved to King George Street in the city center, where it remained until the current complex was opened in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Ram, August 31st, 1966. The Knesset complex was funded by British Liberal politician James de Rothschild and has underwent two major additions, completed in 1992 and 2007. Knesset functions The Knesset sets the laws of the State of Israel and oversees governmental works via a series of 12 permanent committees, which include ones focused on foreign affairs and defense, education and culture, economics and the status of women, among others. Special committees can also be formed when necessity arises, such as the central elections committee and the public petitions committee, among others. The Knesset, as a parliamentary system, is presided over by the Speaker of Knesset and passes laws based off a simple majority of the 120-member voting bloc. Israel's prime minister, as head of the ruling party, is determined by the party best able to form a coalition comprised of at the minimum a simple majority. Knesset seats are allocated based on proportional representation using the D'Hondt method and parties are admitted to Knesset when passing an election threshold of 3.25 percent. Members of Knesset have the ability to raise a vote of no confidence in the government or in government ministers, a move that was only once successful in Knesset's history. Likewise, in order for a prime minister to be named, the candidate must receive a vote of confidence on the Knesset floor before taking office. Knesset assemblies There have been 20 assemblies of Knesset in Israel's history, each referred to by its election number. The First Knesset, under the auspices of prime minister David Ben-Gurion, was in session from 1949 until 1951. Elections occurred by and large every fourth year, unless elections were called early. However, no Knesset term lasted fewer than three years, except for the 19th Knesset, which lasted from 2013 until 2015.
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MK Sharren Haskel before the cannabis legalization vote

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Prior to the defeat, the coalition managed to get one crucial win, when the Knesset voted 64 to 50 against a bill calling for the government to express its sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria.

The moral peril of Israel's 'Elkin law' - analysis

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Likud, Shas petition High Court to nix ‘unbalanced’ Knesset committees

Likud and Shas, from the opposition, petitioned the High Court to invalidate the Knesset Committee assignments, after continued boycotts.

90 Knesset members send petition to Ben & Jerry's opposing boycott

The letter was signed by five Labor MKs, six Blue and White MKs and Yair Golan of Meretz. No Arabs signed it, but Druze MKs did.

UTJ MK Ya'acov Litzman seen in the Israeli parliament on the day of the presidential elections, in J

Kariv: Litzman is 'defender' of pedophile Malka Leifer

Labor MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv attacked Litzman over his pending indictments for allegedly assisting alleged pedophile Malka Leifer.

Two settler buildings in Eli to be razed, state tells court under Bennett

The two buildings, located in the settlement of Eli, could be evicted within three years.

‘Elkin law’ passes in Knesset

‘Due to the whim of a specific man who wants to be on the committee you are turning the world upside down,” opposition MK Ben Tzur scolds the coalition

Coalition passes amendment to Basic Law that guarantees PM rotation

The law now sets August 27, 2023 as the date when Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be replaced by Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid.


Ben-Gvir scuffles with Knesset ushers

Tibi orders Religious Zionist Party MK's removal, but he refuses to comply.


Israel's first 'Wonder Woman' Tamar Eshel celebrates 101st birthday

The oldest living former MK said "I never wanted to be a hero.”

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