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    The Knesset at Work

Opening session of the 16th Knesset, 17/2/2003.

The Organization of the Work of the Knesset

The Knesset year (or annual sitting) is divided into two sessions - the Winter Session, which opens after the summer recess at the end of the High Holidays, and the Summer Session, which opens after the Passover recess. Every Knesset can have as many as five annual sittings, where each such sitting usually opens at the beginning of the Winter Session and closes at the end of the Summer Session.

Most of the work of the Knesset is performed in the plenum and in the committees.


The general outline of the organization of the Knesset's work was laid down in the
Basic Law: the Knesset, which states that beyond the instructions regarding the make up of the Knesset, its sessions and those standing at its head and at the head of its committees, the work of the Knesset is to be subject to three factors: laws, the Knesset Rules of Procedure, which include the regulations regarding the everyday running of the Knesset's work, and "accepted custom and procedure" in the the Knesset, in the event that a particular issue is not dealt with by either the law or the rules of procedure.

The Arrangements Committee

Before the opening session of every Knesset, the
Secretary General of the Knesset invites the representatives of all the lists elected to the new Knesset, in order to determine the make-up of the Arrangements Committee. The Arrangements Committee proposes the Parliamentary Group make-up of the permanent committees, makes recommendations as to who should chair the committees, lays down the sitting arrangements of the Groups in the plenum and the distribution of rooms in the Knesset building to the Groups and Knesset members. After the Arrangements Comittee has completed its work, the House Committee is in charge of all procedural issues relating to the Knesset's work.

The Knesset Speaker

The Knesset Speaker is elected by the plenum, as are his deputies. The Speaker conducts the affairs of the Knesset, represents it externally, preserves its dignity, the decorum of its sittings and the observance of its Rules of Procedure. The Speaker, or one of his deputies, presides over the sittings of the plenum, conducts them, puts resolutions to the vote and determines the results of these votes, as well as those in the elections for various state positions for which the plenum is responsible. In the absence of the
President of the State from the country, the Speaker acts in his place. The Speaker and Deputy Speakers together constitute the Knesset Presidium, which approves the tabling of private Members' bills and the urgency of Motions for the Agenda.

Knesset Speakers since the first Knesset

The Secretary General of the Knesset

The Secretary General of the Knesset, who is appointed by the Knesset Speaker and his deputies, oversees and manages the parliamentary functions of the Knesset. The Secretary General, or one of his deputies, is present in the Knesset plenum when it is sitting. The task of the Secretary General during the sitting is to advise the Speaker on matters of the Rules of Procedure, procedure and custom, and to manage the list of speakers. The Secretary General is a member of the Association of Secretaries-General of Parliaments.

The Director General of the Knesset

The Director General is responsible for the administrative aspects of the Knesset. His roles include keeping the administrative order in the Knesset building, overseeing the work of the Knesset staff, and supervising the logistic management the Knesset.
Until the year 2006, these tasks were part of the responsibilities of the Secretary General of the Knesset. In 2006, following the election of MK
Dalia Itzik as Knesset Speaker, she decided to divide the responsibilities into two separate roles: The Secretary General is responsible for the parliamentary functions of the Knesset, and the Director General is responsible for the Knesset administrative and logistic functions.

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