Two new members of Knesset were sworn in Monday morning, replacing MKs who announced their resignations last week.
Elazar Stern, from Yesh Atid, enters the Knesset to take the place of Shai Piron, who served in the previous government as education minister.
Stern was a member of the now-defunct Hatnua party led by MK Tzipi Livni, but he left the party to join Yesh Atid. He was previously an IDF general, and in his final role served as the head of the army’s manpower directorate.
“I return to the Knesset, and I must admit I felt ambivalent when they asked how happy I was,” Stern said Monday. “Compared to my previous term, I do not feel great joy. I am prepared, alert and appreciate those who sent me here,” he said, presumably referring to Yesh Atid voters. “But there is no joy. I lost my naivete a bit.”
Another MK sworn in on Monday was Oded Forer, formerly director-general of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry. Forer, a freshman lawmaker, enters the Knesset instead of Sharon Gal, a TV anchor who joined the Yisrael Beytenu party ahead of the last election.
Gal resigned last week, saying that he did not believe he could make a difference by “just talking” as a member of the opposition. Gal, known for sparring with MKs from Arab parties, was the main proponent of a failed bill to execute convicted terrorists.
Forer on Monday expressed surprise at the events that led to his becoming an MK. “The past week was not in the expected list of possible scenarios. The opportunity suddenly given me became a moment to stop and think. I see my entering the house of legislators as a great privilege. I am not cynical about this and I know the road is tough,” he said.
As former head of business owners’ interest group, Forer said he would “continue to act on behalf of the small and medium-sized businesses that the government sees as a cash cow. Independent business owners have no one to look out for them in hard times.”
Yisrael Beytenu MK Sofa Landver praised him: “From personal acquaintance and cooperation at work, [I can say that] despite his young age he was very involved in all projects and in initiating national projects. His entry [to the Knesset] is a significant contribution to the Israeli parliament and the State of Israel.”
Landver was Forer’s boss when she served as minister of immigrant absorption.