Photo Credit: Kobi Richter / TPS
Knesset

Nearly all the members of the 22nd Knesset on Thursday arrived at the Israeli parliament ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, only four months after the previous Knesset celebrated a similar event.

The lawmakers were scheduled to gather in Jerusalem for the swearing-in at 4 pm, and each was to rise, one by one, to take the pledge. The MKs were to attend a toast during which the customary photo of elected faction leaders was to be snapped, following the inauguration in the Knesset plenum.

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The inauguration is taking place under unique circumstances, occurring after the shortest-ever serving Knesset, and without 13 Members of Knesset (MKs) who are boycotting the ceremony in protest.

The Joint List, an Arab-majority party in the Knesset, announced its MKs would not attend the inauguration in protest of the rising violence in Arab communities and loss of life.

The party published a statement explaining that the MKs “will miss the Knesset inauguration and will join the Arab public in a protest and a general strike against the government’s and enforcement agencies’ neglect and indifference toward the crime and violence epidemic in Arab society.”

The previous Knesset served the shortest-ever term in Israel’s history, only 150 days. No government was formed following the elections in April, and a second election cycle took place in September.

The prospects of the formation of a new government remain slim even after the second round of elections, and the threat of a third election cycle looms.

The inauguration is taking place shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to meet with Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Liberman to discuss the possibility of forming a government. Liberman said he would present new ideas.

Despite many changes in the political arena during the last elections, including blocs forming on both the left and the right, the number of MKs returning to the Knesset is the highest ever – 103 legislators from the previous Knesset will continue to serve in the current one.

Nine MKs in the 22nd Knesset have served as lawmakers before the 21st Knesset, leaving only eight new MKs in the upcoming Knesset, an all-time low.

Matan Kahana, a former Israeli Air Force pilot and a member of the New Right faction, will have the privilege of being the 1,000th MK in Israel’s history to take the oath of office.

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