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Who Sits Where is New Dispute

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A new dispute has broken out between the Labor Alignment and Likud over seating arrangements in the next Knesset Likud has demanded that its deputies occupy the left side of the chamber, the side now occupied by the Labor Alignment which has governed Israel since its founding. Labor declares that the left side is traditionally occupied by Socialist factions, an arrangement that has prevailed in European parliaments since the last century. Labor Party Whip Moshe Shachal warned yesterday that the Alignment may refuse to attend the opening session of the new Knesset if it is forced to change its location.

Likud contends that seating has nothing to do with the political orientation of the party, left or right, and claims the left side of the chamber because Israel’s governing coalitions have always been seated there. But knowledgeable observers believe the nub of the dispute is the desire of both parties to face the television cameras which cover the left side of the chamber from the visitors’ gallery.

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