18th Knesset Convenes

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CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—The 120 members of Israel's 18th Knesset [parliament] convened Tuesday for the first time.  The new Knesset members were chosen by party in Israel's national elections February 10th.  The country is still without a new prime minister, as the designated candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to work on forming a coalition government.  The new Knesset will be younger than its predecessor and a record 21 women will be serving.  Eight journalists are also among the incoming MK's (Members of Knesset).

The Kadima party, led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, has the most MK's with 28, followed closely by Netanyahu's Likud party with 27.  Avigdor Lieberman and the Yisrael Beiteinu party have the third largest bloc with 15 seats, followed by Ehud Barak and the Labor party with 13.  The ultra-Orthodox Shas party is fifth, with 11 seats.

Michael Eitan (Likud), the longest serving Knesset member, has taken over as temporary speaker [leader] replacing Dalia Itzik (Kadima).  Itzik brought high visibility to Israel's legislative body, and is perhaps most famous for instituting a rule banning blue jeans in the Knesset.  She plans to seek another term as speaker when elections are held.  Her predecessor, Reuben Rivlin (Likud) will also run again.

Sources:  Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post

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