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Listed below: The 120 MKs

As 25th Knesset sworn in, president urges MKs to end ‘addiction’ to toxic discourse

Herzog calls on emerging coalition to only make planned judicial reforms through ‘open, respectful dialogue’; outgoing speaker calls previous Knesset a ‘low point’

Lawmakers at the swearing-in of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)
Lawmakers at the swearing-in of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

One by one, the 120 members of Israel’s 25th Knesset were sworn in on Tuesday, ushering in a right-wing, religious majority that has vowed to pursue a hardline reformist agenda, as President Isaac Herzog urged the incoming lawmakers to end their “addiction to conflict” and social media-driven uproars.

The new Knesset is expected to provide Israel with long-sought domestic political stability after a cycle of five inconclusive elections in less than four years. But it may also represent a dramatic change in Israeli governance. Seen as potentially the most right-wing since the country’s creation, the parliament is expected to usher in a right-religious coalition with prominent far-right ministers and a shared declared goal of constraining the Supreme Court that critics say would neuter the judiciary.

The coalition is expected to be comprised of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, two ultra-Orthodox parties and the far-right Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit alliance.

Herzog used his address to urge lawmakers to cool the venomous political discourse between parties after 19 turbulent months that saw an unlikely coalition of right, left, center and Arab parties take power only to be undone by internal squabbling and unrelenting criticism from the opposition.

“The citizens of Israel stand proud of their country, which this year will celebrate 75 years of independence, and they believe in the justness of its cause; but at the same time, they are honestly exhausted from the infighting and its fallout,” the president said.

“The responsibility lies first and foremost with you, the public’s elected representatives. A responsibility to try to wean yourselves off this addiction to never-ending conflict… A responsibility to take a deep breath, verify the facts and consider everything carefully before any speech or [social media post],” he said.

Herzog added that politicians were often too focused on getting likes and shares and causing online buzz, without thinking through the consequences.

President Isaac Herzog (left) and Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the swearing-in of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

Israelis now want their parliament to “simply work for them,” he said.

“They expect you, all of you, to work for them in the committees, in the plenum, and in your assorted public and parliamentary roles. They expect us, all of us, to wake up every morning and look out for them,” said Herzog.

He also alluded to calls among members of Netanyahu’s prospective coalition to advance legislation that would allow parliament to overrule High Court rulings with a mere 61 votes in the 120-seat Knesset.

“On this festive day, we should remember that the power of the legislature is part of a necessary and broader system of checks and balances. Let me emphasize: not only is change possible, there are areas where change is proper and desirable,” he said.

“But we must do so through listening, through open dialogue, through respectful discourse — and fairly,” he added.

Outgoing Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy also decried the vitriolic political discourse in the previous parliament in a speech following Herzog’s. His comments were an apparent shot at members of the prospective right-religious coalition, who continuously lambasted the outgoing government throughout its existence.

“From my experience in the Knesset, I say this with great pain: the previous Knesset was a low point in the country’s history, with offensive and disparaging discourse, undermining the legitimacy of a government that received the Knesset’s backing, and breaking all the accepted rules of the game,” he said.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the swearing-in of the new Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

“The swearing in of a new Knesset is a welcome opportunity for change, renewal and different conduct,” he added, urging lawmakers to learn from the “good things” done in the previous Knesset and by the outgoing government, particularly in getting the country back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic and in strengthening its international standing.

Echoing Herzog’s sentiment, Levy urged the incoming coalition and opposition to cooperate and “not descend into hate.” He called the internal rifts in Israeli society “the greatest existential threat” facing the country.

“Let’s debate with mutual respect,” Levy said. He promised to support moves advanced by the coalition if they align with his worldview, while criticizing the Netanyahu-led bloc for not doing so while in the opposition. He said it had thus served as an “opposition to the state” rather than to the government.

Levy, a Yesh Atid MK, is expected to soon be replaced as speaker by a lawmaker from the incoming coalition, although who will get the role has yet to be finalized.

Benjamin Netanyahu at the swearing-in of the 25th Knesset, November 15, 2022. (Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson)

Despite Netanyahu’s vigorous efforts to quickly seal a coalition deal, Israel’s 37th government was not sworn in alongside its lawmakers, with contested ministerial portfolios and disputed policy goals yet to be reconciled.

While the talks between Netanyahu and his far-right partner Bezalel Smotrich have come to a head over the assignment of senior ministry posts, the parties are expected to come to terms well before the December 11 deadline for forming a government. The two met for the first time in a week following the swearing-in ceremony.

The Netanyahu-led bloc won a decisive 64 Knesset seats in the November 1 election — the first since 2015 that handed a clear majority to a bloc of aligned parties in the Knesset. However, it only narrowly won the popular vote, and nearly half the electorate bitterly opposes its right, far-right and ultra-Orthodox components. In accepting the task of forming a coalition on Sunday, Netanyahu acknowledged the national divides, and promised to govern for all Israelis — “those who voted for me and those who did not.”

Staged as a festive affair, the swearing-in ceremony included a Knesset honor guard, a military orchestra and a cavalry convoy. However, a deadly terror attack earlier Tuesday cast a pall over the celebrations, with most speakers devoting some remarks to the victims and their families.

Leaders of parties in the new Knesset pose for a group photo after the swearing-in ceremony, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The standard oath of office for lawmakers states: “I commit to be faithful to the State of Israel and to fulfill with devotion my cause in the Knesset,” to which incoming lawmakers are expected to respond: “I commit.”

A minor outcry occurred in April 2021, when several Joint List MKs changed the wording of their oaths to commit to fighting “occupation” and “racists.” They were later re-sworn into parliament without the extra wordage. No such incident occurred on Tuesday, though two lawmakers from the Hadash-Ta’al faction refused to have their photo taken with the state’s flag and seal.

Following is a full list of members of the 25th Knesset.

Prospective coalition:

Likud

1. Benjamin Netanyahu
2. Yariv Levin
3. Eli Cohen
4. Yoav Gallant
5. David Amsalem
6. Amir Ohana
7. Yoav Kisch
8. Nir Barkat
9. Miri Regev
10. Miki Zohar
11. Avi Dichter
12. Israel Katz
13. Shlomo Karhi
14. Amichai Chikli
15. Danny Danon
16. Idit Silman
17. David Bitan
18. Yuli Edelstein
19. Eliyahu Revivo
20. Galit Distel Atbaryan
21. Nissim Vaturi
22. Shalom Danino
23. Haim Katz
24. Ofir Akunis
25. Tali Gottlieb
26. Hanoch Milwidsky
27. Boaz Bismuth
28. Moshe Saada
29. Eli Dellal
30. Gila Gamliel
31. Ofir Katz
32. May Golan

Religious Zionism

1. Bezalel Smotrich
2. Itamar Ben Gvir
3. Ofir Sofer
4. Orit Strock
5. Yitzhak Wasserlauf
6. Simcha Rothman
7. Almog Cohen
8. Michal Waldiger
9. Amichai Eliyahu
10. Zvika Fogel
11. Avi Maoz
12. Ohad Tal
13. Limor Son Har-Melech
14. Moshe Solomon

Shas

1. Aryeh Deri
2. Ya’akov Margi
3. Yoav Ben-Tzur
4. Michael Malkieli
5. Haim Biton
6. Moshe Arbel
7. Yinon Azoulay
8. Moshe Abutbul
9. Uriel Buso
10. Yosef Taieb
11. Avraham Benayahu Bezalel

United Torah Judaism

1. Yitzchak Goldknopf
2. Moshe Gafni
3. Meir Porush
4. Uri Maklev
5. Ya’akov Tessler
6. Ya’akov Asher
7. Yisrael Eichler

Prospective opposition:

Yesh Atid

1. Yair Lapid
2. Orna Barbivai
3. Meir Cohen
4. Karine Elharrar
5. Meirav Cohen
6. Yoel Razvozov
7. Elazar Stern
8. Mickey Levy
9. Merav Ben Ari
10. Ram Ben Barak
11. Yoav Segalovitz
12. Boaz Toporovsky
13. Michal Shir
14. Idan Roll
15. Yorai Lahav-Hertzano
16. Vladimir Beliak
17. Ron Katz
18. Mati Tzarfati Harkabi
19. Tania Mazarsky
20. Yasmin Fridman
21. Debbie Biton
22. Moshe Tur-Paz
23. Simon Davidson
24. Naor Shiri

National Unity

1. Benny Gantz
2. Gideon Sa’ar
3. Gadi Eisenkot
4. Pnina Tamano-Shata
5. Yifat Shasha-Biton
6. Chili Tropper
7. Ze’ev Elkin
8. Michael Biton
9. Matan Kahana
10. Orit Farkash-Hacohen
11. Sharren Haskel
12. Alon Schuster

Yisrael Beytenu

1. Avigdor Liberman
2. Oded Forer
3. Evgeny Sova
4. Sharon Nir
5. Yulia Malinovsky
6. Hamad Amar

Ra’am

1. Mansour Abbas
2. Walid Taha
3. Waleed Alhawashla
4. Iman Khatib-Yasin
5. Yasser Hujirat

Hadash-Ta’al

1. Ayman Odeh
2. Ahmad Tibi
3. Aida Touma-Sliman
4. Ofer Cassif
5. Youssef Atauna

Labor

1. Merav Michaeli
2. Naama Lazimi
3. Gilad Kariv
4. Efrat Rayten

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