Israels 20th Knesset gets sworn in

A record 28 women and 39 first-time lawmakers were among the 120 members of Israel’s 20th Knesset sworn in on March 31.

Gathering for the first time in the Knesset plenum, the lawmakers pledged their loyalty to the State of Israel and its laws. Amir Peretz of the Zionist Union, the longest-serving Knesset lawmaker, presided over the session. He was the first lawmaker to be sworn in so he could lead the session.

Each of the lawmakers was called individually to accept the pledge to serve.

Most of the Arab-Israeli lawmakers left the room after their swearing-in, reportedly to avoid singing the national anthem “Hatikvah” at the end of the session. The head of the Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh, as well as two other members of the Arab Hadash party that make up the Joint List, remained for the singing of “Hatikvah.”

Five of the new Knesset members were required to renounce their dual citizenship in other countries in order to be sworn in. — jta