Israel’s new Knesset sworn in, president calls to end ‘vindictiveness and spite’

Israel’s newly elected 21st Knesset arrived at the parliament on Tuesday and its 120 Members of Knesset swore allegiance to the State of Israel.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was welcomed at Knesset with a special ceremony by the Knesset Guard. An IDF band played the national anthem, the president’s flag was hoisted, and Rivlin laid a wreath at the memorial commemorating the IDF’s fallen soldiers.

Rivlin began a new Israeli tradition when he signed for the first time the “President’s Book,” a special volume in which the president inscribes his message to the new MKs.

Acting Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein read the text of the declaration of allegiance to the Knesset members, “I commit to being faithful to the State of Israel and faithfully fulfill my duties in the Knesset,” and each of them stood in turn and declared “I commit.”

Addressing the Knesset, Rivlin quoted a prayer recited by Menachem Begin at his 1963 swearing in ceremony. “May the country profit, and may the people benefit. May hatred and vilification subside and may mutual respect increase. May vindictiveness and spite disappear and may rivalry – sharp, but fair and honorable – take its place. May distortion be banished and let truth flourish. May hard-heartedness be tempered and may camaraderie deepen. May hypocrisy be eliminated and may honesty multiply. May there be an end to blandishments, and may civil courage and freedom of thought take their place,” Begin prayed.

The Knesset commenced with its first session after the closing of the celebratory meeting with the singing of the national anthem “Hatikva,” and elected Yuli Edelstein for a third term as Speaker of the Knesset.

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The 21st Knesset includes 49 new MKs, 29 women, and 11 factions, the largest of which is the Likud and Blue and White, with 35 seats each.