Fifth Knesset  
September 04, 1961   November 22, 1965
  Results of Elections
  Factional Make-up
  Speaker: Kadish Luz
  Knesset Members
Elected Officials:
President: Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (third term)
President: Zalman Shazar
Government 10
Under David Ben-Gurion

Government 11
Under Levi Eshkol

Government 12
Under Levi Eshkol
  Selected Events:
10.10.1961 Knesset Speaker Kadish Luz announced the bringing of the remains of philosopher Moshe Hess for burial on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
6.11.1961 The Knesset debated the Government’s policy in the UN regarding Arab refugees.

12.2.1962 Minister of Finance Levi Eshkol announced a "new economic policy" for the stabilization of the national economy, at the center of which was the devaluation of the Israeli lira by 70%.
3.4.1962 The Knesset debated the disappearance of the child Yosele Shumacher.
10.4.1962 The Prime Minister made an announcement concerning the United Nations Security Council's resolution to condemn Israel for the shooting incidents on the Syrian border.
31.5.1962 Adolph Eichmann was executed by hanging.
30.10.1962 President Yitzhak Ben Zvi was re-elected to a third term.
Prime Minister David Ben Gurion with Foreign Minister Golda Meir, 1.11.1962
Prime Minister David Ben Gurion with Foreign Minister Golda Meir, 1.11.1962

Various images from the Fifth Knesset
MK Moshe Sneh addresses the Plenum, 4.9.1961Ministers of the 11th Government with the PresidentThe reinterment of Zeev Jabotinsky in Jerusalem, 19.7.1964

30.1.1963 A motion for the agenda was raised by MK Pinhas Rosen of the Liberal Party regarding the abrupt expulsion of Dr. Robert Soblen from the country.
20.2.1963 Maki, Herut, Mapam and Ahdut Ha'avoda factions presented four bills to end the Military Government in the occupied territories, as well as the annulment or amendment of the State of Emergency Regulations. The proposals were dismissed.
20.3.1963 Minister of Foreign Affairs Golda Meir made a statement regarding the actions of German scientists and experts in Egypt, assisting in the development of long-range missiles.
30.10.1963 Motions for the agenda were raised concerning the riots over the operation of buses in Jerusalem on Shabbat.

A Selection of Enacted Laws

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, 26.6.1963
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, 26.6.1963
The Fifth Knesset officiated for a little more than four years, during which three governments were formed – the 10th through 12th Governments. The Tenth Government was the last government headed by David Ben Gurion, who was succeeded by Levi Eshkol. Ben Gurion resigned for the final time for “personal reasons,” feeling he had lost the trust of his fellow friends in the matter of the “Lavon Affair.” Eshkol resigned from the post a year and a half later in matters relating to the “Lavon affair.” His second government officiated until the end of the Knesset’s tenure.

Among the issues debated in the Fifth Knesset was the new economic policy, introduced by Eshkol’s successor in the Ministry of Finance, Pinhas Sapir. This new policy was established to stabilize the national economy through price stabilization and the unification of currency rates. It was strongly criticized by the parties of the opposition.

Ethnic discrimination in Israel was also of growing interest to the public and was often placed on the Knesset’s agenda. The Knesset also debated on religious compulsion, following the violent riots of Haredi groups on the desecration of the Shabbat, as well as the return of the child Yosele Shumacher by the Mossad. He was kidnapped from his parents by his grandfather, a Rabbi, and smuggled to New York in order to save him from “conversion.” Another discussion concerned the restrictions presented by the Law of Return, following the Aliyah attempts of Jewish-American gangster Meyer Lansky and the suspected Jewish-American Soviet spy, Dr. Robert Soblen.

Levi Eshkol’s decision to relocate the remains of Zeev Jabotinsky for burial in Israel symbolized a change in the attitude of the dominant party of Mapai towards the Herut movement of the opposition. Another perceived change related to that of the State towards its non-Jewish citizens: Several factions operated to dismiss the Military Government on minorities in Israel, but the matter was rejected by vote. However, a partial solution was reached and the Military Government over the Druze was abolished.

Other stormy debates and discussions concerned the trial and execution of Adolph Eichmann, the German scientists’ affair in Egypt, the capture of Israeli spy Wolfgang Lotz in Cairo, the establishment of diplomatic relations with West Germany, and the capture and execution of Israeli spy Eli Cohen in Damascus.

Several political changes occurred during the final days of the Fifth Knesset and left their mark on the political map: The “Lavon affair” remained in public discussion, mainly due to Ben Gurion’s stand on the issue, and brought about the breakaway of eight Mapai MKs to form the new Rafi party. The Israel Communist Party (Maki) also split, following the support of its Arab members in the Pan-Arabism ideology of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Its Arab members and Meir Vilner (one of the signatories on the Declaration of Independence) formed the New Communist List (Rakah). The Herut movement and a large portion of the Liberal Party joined in the Herut-Liberal Bloc. In the elections campaign to the Sixth Knesset, Mapai, weakened by the breakaway of Rafi, also formed a political bloc with Ahdut Ha’avoda.

Video: In Thy Blood Live

Video: In Thy Blood Live

10.6.1964 The National Water Carrier was inaugurated by President Zalman Shazar. The Carrier began operations, transferring water from the Sea of Galilee to the Negev.
8.7.1964 A special plenum sitting was held in memory of Zeev Jabotinsky and his wife, on the day their remains were relocated for burial in Jerusalem.
17.8.1964 An announcement was made by the Government regarding the Jewish identity of the Indian "B'nai Yisrael" congregation.
8.12.1964 Prime Minister Eshkol made an announcement on social discord and immigrant absorption: "By raising the educational, social and economic level, by bringing people closer, by cultural stimulation and by a political representation derived from inner strengths and combined natural growth - by these, Members of the Knesset, we shall be united together."

16.3.1965 The Knesset approved the Government's decision to form diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany.
18.5.1965 Israeli spy Eli Cohen was executed by hanging in Damascus. MK Israel Galili spoke in his honor at the plenum.

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