JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first session of the newly elected 19th Knesset opened in Jerusalem.
The 120 members of the Knesset, including 48 new members, were sworn in on Tuesday as part of the celebratory opening.
The session was presided over by the Labor Party’s Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, the legislative body’s longest-serving lawmaker.
As part of the inaugural session, members heard a recording of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, declaring the establishment of the Jewish State.
President Shimon Peres delivered the opening remarks. Peres addressed Israel’s foreign and domestic challenges including the pressing need to pass a new budget, equality in sharing the national burden, social justice, the importance of peace and the threat from Iran.
"Members of Knesset, the smallness of our territory requires a greatness of minds. An Israel that will be built on values. That will be just for all citizens. A State that will be daunting to our enemies. A country that contributes. Our foundation is the Ten Commandments. Our vision is the edge of science. Members of Knesset, you are privileged to be representatives of the people. There is no greater right than to serve your nation," Peres said..
As part of the ceremony, each Knesset member rose and swore his loyalty to the state and its laws.