The 120 members of the 19th Knesset were sworn in Tuesday in an opening ceremony presided over by Labor’s Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the senior-most MK with 29 years in office under his belt. He is also the oldest MK, at age 77, while Stav Shaffir, 27, also from Labor, will be the youngest. The 19th Knesset boast 48 new members and 27 women, a record number.
The ceremony began with President Shimon Peres laying flowers on the memorial for the fallen in wars, followed by a meeting between him, Ben-Eliezer and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli singer Kobi Aflalo performed before President Shimon Peres opened parliament. Peres spoke thereafter, warning “I recommend to our enemies not to be mistaken about our abilities both overt and covert.” Peres addressed Iran, Syria, the Arab Spring and a host of other internal Israeli issues.
Then the members of the Knesset took an oath in which they declared their commitment “to be faithful to the State of Israel and faithfully fulfill my mission in the Knesset,” which was followed by the singing of the national anthem, HaTikva.
The day wasn’t without its minor controversies. The Times of Israel reported that new Arab MK Basel Ghattas from the Balad party refused to attach to his lapel a blue and white ceremonial rosette pin, in the shape of a dove, that was presented to all Knesset members. It was also reported that Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, the Balad party member who participated in the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza in 2010, took the oath then left the chamber immediately.