The Main Events and Issues During the First Knesset
The first Knesset was elected before the end of the War of Independence, and
its location changed several times before it moved up from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Naturally, the first Knesset dealt with a good deal of original legislation and
the amendment of laws, orders and regulations left over from the British
The first Knesset adopted a resolution regarding the preparation of a
constitution for the state, chapter by
chapter in the form of basic laws (the Harari resolution).
On 5 December, 1949, the Prime Minister made an announcement in the Knesset
regarding Jerusalem and the holy places, in reaction to the UN proposal that
the city be internationalized. Ben Gurion declared, that "Jewish Jerusalem is
an integral and inseparable part of the State of Israel, just as it is an
inseparable part of the history of Israel, the faith of Israel and the spirit
of our people."
The first Knesset held numerous debates on issues connected with the War of Independence and its termination;
The organization and functioning of the IDF and the rights of
The absorption of the mass immigration, including the problem of immigrant
transition camps and the special problems of the immigrants from Yemen, whose
representatives were elected to the first Knesset; The issue of ideological
streams in the education system, which caused numerous coalition crises;
Health problems created as a result of the mass immigration;
The housing shortage and the beginning of mass construction;
The shortage in jobs and the beginning of government initiated public works;
The economic policy - especially the issue of taxation, the shortage in "hard"
currency and the American loan, rationing of basic products and the phenomenon
MKs from the Opposition in the Knesset plenum,
and the visitors' gallery, May 1950.
Foreign policy issues which were dealt with concerned Israel's acceptance as a
member ofthe UN in 1949, the Three Power Declaration regarding the armaments and
security of the Arab countries and Israel and Israel's relations with various
countries. The Knesset also dealt with the situation of the Jews in the various
dispersions; The policy towards the Arab citizens of the state and the problem of
"abandoned property" left behind by the War of Independence refugees.
The old Knesset building
on King George Street in Jerusalem.
One of the first Knesset's
temporary homes in Tel Aviv.
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