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Members of the fourth Assembly of Representatives, 12.9.1944
Members of the fourth Assembly of Representatives, 12.9.1944.


The War of Independence: Raising the Israeli flag at Faluja, 28.2.1948
The War of Independence: Raising the Israeli flag at Faluja, 28.2.1948.


The Knesset History - Introduction

The Knesset is the house of representatives of the State of Israel. It is uni-cameral and has 120 Members representing numerous lists that are elected in general, country-wide, proportional elections once every four years (see electoral system).
David Ben Gurion delivering the Proclamation of Independence, 14.5.1948
The Proclamation of Independence: David Ben Gurion delivering the proclamation, 14.5.1948.

The name "Knesset" derives from the "Great Knesset" ("Great Assembly") which convened in Jerusalem after the return of the Jews to Eretz Yisrael from the Babylonian exile in the fifth century B.C.E. The number of Knesset Members was also determined on the basis of the number of members of the Great Knesset. The traditions of the Knesset and the way it functions were influenced by the Zionist Congress, which first convened in Basel in 1897, by the experience of the Assembly of Representatives (Assefat Hanivharim) of the Jewish community in mandatory Palestine and, to a certain extent, by the procedures and customs of the British Parliament - the "mother of parliaments."

On 18 April 1948, towards the proclamation of the state, the People's Council (Moetzet Ha'am) was established. This was turned on May 14 into the Provisional State Council, which functioned as the legislature of the new state until the elections for the Constituent Assembly (Ha'assefa Hamechonent).

Until the end of 1949 the meetings of the Provisional State Council (Moetzet Hamedina Hazmanit) were held at the Tel Aviv Museum, the "Kessem" cinema, and the "San-Remo" hotel. On 26 December 1949, the Knesset moved to its temporary residence in "Beit Frumin" on King George Street in Jerusalem, and on 31 August, 1966 - to its permanent residence at Kiryat Ben Gurion.


State Symbol - Menora and Olive Branches
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