The Handshake: Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat
with President Bill Clinton, 13.9.1993.
The signing of the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty at
Beit Gavriel, 10.11.1994.
The main events during the term of the 13th Knesset were the signing of the
agreements with the Palestinians and of the peace treaty with Jordan, and the
assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Following the elections, a government
headed by the Labor Party was formed. Under the new government the course of the
peace process, which the previous government had embarked upon following the Madrid
After the expulsion of 415 Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in December
1992, and the standstill in the Washington talks, Israel began secret
negotiations with the PLO in Norway. On September 13, 1993, the Declaration
of Principles was signed (Oslo I) regarding mutual recognition between
Israel and the PLO,
Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho and the establishment of a Palestinian
authority. The agreement raised a good deal of controversy in the general public
and the Knesset, but in a vote on a motion of no-confidence
in the Knesset, brought against the background of the Declaration on 23 September,
1993, 61 MKs voted against the motion and 50 in favor, with eight members abstaining
and one being absent.
An additional agreement, Oslo II, was signed between Israel and the Palestinians at
Taba on 27 September, 1995, and according to it Israel agreed to withdraw from the
cities in Judea and Samaria and additional areas, and it was agreed that elections
would be held for a Palesitnian Authority. Against the background of the Taba
Agreement there was a wave of demonstrations, some of them violent, against the
government and its policy.
At the end of a counter-demonstration, by supporters of the peace process,
which was held at Kikar Malchei Yisrael in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jewish assassin who
acted independently. The traumatic event caused deep shock in the state,
and was strongly condemned by most parts of the population, despite
widespread opposition to the government's policy.
The terrorist attack on
bus number 5 in Tel Aviv, 19.10.1994.
The rise in the number of the victims of terrorist attacks performed by members of
the Hammas and Islamic Jihad following the signing of the various agreements between
Israel and the Palestinians, were frequently brought up in the Knesset by the
opposition, especially following the terrorist wave of February/March 1996.
The Jordanian-Israeli Peace Agreement, which hardly raised any controversy, was
signed in the Arava on 26 October, 1994. The Agreement was approved by the Knesset
one day before the signing ceremony by a majority of 105, with three MKs voting
against and six abstaining. The future of the Golan Heights was also at the center
of the public debate, even though no progress was made in the negotiations with
Against the background of the Labor leaders' willingness to withdraw
from the Golan within the framework of a peace agreement with Syria,
two of its MKs - Avigdor Kahalani and Emanuel Zissman - broke away from
the Labor Party and established the Third Way.
Against the background of the upheaval in the Histadrut, following the
Histadrut elections in May 1994, which were won by Haim Ramon, who ran
against the official Labor candidate, the Knesset enacted, after many
years of abortive attemtps, a National Health Insurance Law. The new
law cancelled the link between membership in the Histadrut and
membership in its health fund - Kupat Holim Klalit.
Amongst the economic issues dealt with by the 13th Knesset were the privatization
of government owned companies and the sale of the bank shares held by the government,
and the government's intention to impose a tax on stock market eanings at the
beginning of 1995.
MKs Shilansky (Likud) and Ze'evi
planting trees on Arbor Day, 1995.
What exemplified the debates on the budget laws during the term of the 13th Knesset
were the Filibusters introduced by members of the opposition, when in the debate on
the 1993 budget, MK Michael Eitan (Likud) spoke non-stop for over ten hours. Other
dramatic issues dealt with by the Knesset were the massacre of 29 Palestinians by a
Jewish doctor at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron; and the affair of Rabbi Uzi Meshulam, which reopened the
issue of the Yemenite children who disappeared in the early years of the state.
Three presidents paying their last respects to Yitzhak Rabin, 7.11.1995.
Rabin's funeral: Acting PM Shimon Peres shaking King Hussein's hand, 7.11.1995.
A national commission of inquiry was appointed to investigate the issue. The Knesset plenum and its
committees also dealt with the issue of violence in the family and amongst youths,
and the status of women. The introduction of primaries in th major parties to a
large extent changed the patterns of behavior of many Mks in the 13th Knesset.
Rabin's coffin in front of the Knesset building, 6.11.1995.