With 39 newcomers, 20th Knesset set to be sworn in

Ceremony led by Reuven Rivlin and Amir Peretz will feature poet laureate reading Psalm 122, and historic recording of Ben-Gurion

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

The Knesset plenum (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
The Knesset plenum (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The 20th Knesset is slated to be sworn in Tuesday afternoon, as a large cohort of newcomers — 39 of the 120 MKs — ready themselves to become lawmakers for the first time.

The proceedings start with a reception hosted by President Reuven Rivlin and outgoing Speaker Yuli Edelstein at 3:15 p.m., with the singing of the national anthem, an honor guard, and the laying of a memorial wreath for fallen defenders of the state.

At 4:00 p.m., the president will enter the Knesset plenum, bang his gavel three times, and declare, “I am honored to open the first meeting of the 20th Knesset, today, Tuesday, the 11th of Nissan 5775, the 31st of March 2015.”

Rivlin will then give his address.

The president will then invite the longest-serving MK, Zionist Union’s Amir Peretz, to take the oath and run the session.

Poet Erez Biton, the recipient of the 2015 Israel Prize for Hebrew Literature and Poetry, will then read Psalm 122.

The plenum will next hear a recording of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, reading the Declaration of Independence.

Peretz will then lead the assembled MKs in taking the oath: “I pledge to remain loyal to the State of Israel, and to faithfully discharge my duties in the Knesset.”

Each member will rise when his name is called and declare, “I pledge.”

The ceremony will end with the singing of “Hatikva.”

At 5 p.m., Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will join the MKs for a toast in the Chagall Lobby, which will include the traditional photograph of Netanyahu, Rivlin, and the heads of the ten parties in the Knesset.

Singer Arkady Duchin will also perform at the event.

Of the incoming 120 MKs, 39 are first-time lawmakers, and 29 are women.

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