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Knesset to open up for guests at swearing-in ceremony

CM 04/04/2021

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The Knesset will begin the process of returning to its pre-pandemic rules at Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony when guests will be permitted in the visitors’ gallery for the first time since the novel coronavirus arrived in Israel.Each of the 120 MKs in the 23rd Knesset will be able to invite one guest, who will be permitted to take part in the special ceremonies of the day. It will be the first time the visitors’ gallery will be occupied in more than a year.Knesset members will still occupy the press gallery, due to draconian rules limiting the media that were imposed by Knesset speaker Yariv Levin that have yet to be rescinded. MKs will sit socially distanced, with one seat in between them, but they will not be required to obtain a green pass indicating that they have been vaccinated.“The swearing-in ceremony is an emotional event, the holy of holies of Israeli democracy and the highlight for members of parliament,” Levin said. “I wish the MKs well and hope their term will be fruitful and long.”President Reuven Rivlin and Supreme Court President Esther Hayut will symbolically attend the ceremony, joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Levin.Due to COVID-19, in last year’s ceremony for the 23rd Knesset, only five MKs were allowed in the plenum at a time.On Monday, the 18 new members of Knesset will be invited to take part in workshops and tours of the Knesset. They will be taken to their temporary seats in the Knesset plenum and taught how to vote.

But none of the MKs will receive permanent seats until Rivlin appoints a candidate to form the government on Wednesday. The faction chairman of that party will head the Knesset’s Arrangements Committee. That MK will then decide where MKs sit and who will be on each of the first committees in the new Knesset, the Finance Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Arrangements Committee itself.When a new government is formed, the Arrangements Committee will become the Knesset House Committee.As part of Levin’s rules limiting the media, the Knesset press corps has not been allowed in the plenum, Knesset committee meetings, or faction meetings. The Knesset gym is open to MKs even if they have not been vaccinated, but closed to the press corps, even if they have a green passport.
Source: Jerusalem Post

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