Israel’s 22nd Knesset to be inaugurated Thursday

The new Knesset will convene even as a new government is still in the process of being formed. 

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s 22nd Knesset will be inaugurated on Thursday afternoon.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will be leading the inauguration ceremony and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will read the statement of each member’s obligations to those assembled.

The new Knesset will convene even as a new government is still in the process of being formed.

The deadlock between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White faction to build a ruling coalition has not yet been resolved.

After all of the votes had been tallied after the September 17 general election, Blue and White won 33 seats, closely followed by the Likud with 32. But neither has enough support to assemble a 61-seat majority coalition, and they are fiercely divided over the leadership and makeup of any unity government.

Operating under a parliamentary system, the composition of the cabinet  – the executive branch – generally represents the complexion of the majority of MKs voted by the people into the Knesset.

President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu a mandate on September 25 to work on forming a governing parliamentary majority after a slightly larger number of MKs in the new parliament recommended Netanyahu for prime minister than the number supporting Gantz.

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Talks between both parties were held last week to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government.

The talks continued earlier this week but no significant advances were made. In a statement regarding the meeting, Blue and White said it rejected the Likud’s demands to form a unity government under Netanyahu’s leadership with the prime minister’s right-wing and religious allies.

Another meeting between the two parties was expected to take place on Wednesday, but Blue and White announced that it was calling it off.

The Likud said it was stunned by Gantz’s decision to cancel the talks and called on him to show responsibility in order to avoid sending the country to a third round of elections after no government was established after a vote for parliament in April as well.

The third-largest faction in the new Knesset, the Joint List, a predominantly Arab representation, announced that it would boycott Thursday’s opening session due to violence in the Israeli Arab sector.

MK Ahmad Tibi tweeted that the 13 MKs from the Joint List would not participate in the inauguration “in solidarity with the general strike protesting the wave of murders in Arab towns and the subsequent lack of policing.” The strike was called by a monitoring committee of leading Israeli Arab figures.