Israel’s 6th Knesset Passes into History, Was in Session During Momentous Period

Israel’s sixth Knesset ended after passing 249 bills in 429 sessions during which Israel won the Six-Day War and Jerusalem was reunited. It posted a record in dealing with 7,825 questions and with nine non-confidence motions–one on its last day–all of which were defeated.

As members left the chamber, they exchanged partings and greetings of "see you in the next Knesset," which will be based on the coming October elections, But many current members have announced they will not run again in October, notably Speaker Kaddish Luz, who said in a radio interview that he planned to retire to his home in Kibbutz Degania. Moshe Unna, head of the Knesset legislation committee, also will not run again. The two deputy speakers–Mrs. Ruth Haktin and Emma Thalmi–said they would not seek re-election.

The last non-confidence vote was moved by the Free Center’s Shmuel Tamir for allegedly "undemocratic legislation"–the majority vote of more than 61 members for an elections campaign finance bill which would aid political parties and another bill on broadcast time allocation to the various parties. The finance measure was approved at a marathon session, replacing a previous measure nullified by Israel’s Supreme Court on grounds it discriminated against small parties. The Keenest members sat up half the night to see the measure through its required second and third readings less than 24 hours after it passed its first. The Knesset also gave final approval to a bill validating all previously adopted election laws to forestall the possibility of future nullifications by the high court.

Mr. Tamir charged that the basic law of equality had not been satisfied by the measure and that the Knesset had missed the "spirit" of the Supreme Court’s position. He charged that the new election finance law would pave the way for single party rule. An uproar developed when he charged that money coming in from world Jewry was being spent on election campaigns. Premier Golda Meir arose to protest, asserting that "you know yourself only too well that this is not true" and she accused Mr. Tamir of trying to make use of the final Sixth Knesset session as a platform for his election campaign. The non-confidence motion was rejected by 73 to eight with three abstentions.

The Knesset also adopted a resolution calling on Soviet authorities to allow Russian Jews to leave and to permit their emigration to Israel. The motion was approved by all parties except the extreme leftist Communist faction and Agudath Israel. The resolution stressed that the right of every Jew to return to the land of his forefathers applied to Soviet Jews no less than others.

The resolution expressed its satisfaction with the awakening of national spirit which it said was gathering momentum among young Soviet Jews, for their devotion expressed in their ties with the Jewish people and their yearning to come to Israel. The Knesset voiced vigorous protest against Soviet authorities for denying the right of every Jew to come to Israel and for failing to fulfill the humanitarian principle of the reunion of families which Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin promised in 1966 to Soviet Jews.

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