JERUSALEM (JTA) – A record 28 women and 39 first-time lawmakers were among the 120 members of Israel’s 20th Knesset sworn in.
On Tuesday, 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.
“The walls of these halls are transparent not only because the people are examining your work, but also so that you will look out toward them,” President Reuven Rivlin said in an address to the lawmakers. “Do not for even a second forget who sent you here. The public’s trust should always be your paramount concern.”
Peretz was the first lawmaker to be sworn in, in order to lead the session. Following his swearing in, Erez Biton, a blind Mizrachi poet announced earlier this week as the winner of the 2015 Israel Prize for literature, read Psalm 122.
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.