Israel is still without a new government three weeks after the general election, but it does have a new Parliament.
Israel is still without a new government three weeks after the general election, but it does have a new Parliament. The eighth Knesset assembled in Jerusalem on Monday (21 January) with 40 new faces among the 120 members.
Mrs. Golda Meir, as leader of the biggest group of parties -- the Labour Alignment -- has been asked by President Katzir to submit proposals for a government. The Cabinet-making process has been delayed by Mrs. Meir's illness and her attendance at the Knesset opening was her first public appearance in three weeks.
At 75 Mrs. Meir is the oldest member of the Knesset and it was because of this distinction that she was charged with the duty of swearing in the rest of the House and presiding over the election of a Speaker. The Alignment candidate for the post, Yisrael Yeshayahu, was re-elected for another term.
Outside the Knesset a group of about 50 demonstrators had assembled to protest against the separation of forces agreement Israel has signed with Egypt. The right-of-centre Likud opposition party, which gained ground in the elections, is also strongly critical of the agreement. It attacked Mrs. Meir's government in a heated debate on the agreement on Tuesday (22 January), but lost when a vote was taken approving of the caretaker government's decision. The alternative to the agreement, Mrs. Meir assured the members was nothing but the renewal of war.