Eighth Knesset  
January 21, 1974   June 13, 1977
  Results of Elections
  Factional Make-up
  Speaker: Yisrael Yeshayahu
  Knesset Members
Elected Officials:
In this Knesset, there were no elections for president or for state comptroller.
Government 16
Under Golda Meir

Government 17
Under Yitzhak Rabin
Knesset members visit Elon Moreh
Knesset members visit Elon Moreh

Selected Events:
18.1.1974 A Separation of Forces Agreement was signed with Egypt through the mediation of American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
10.2.1974 Protest movements, headed by Moti Ashkenazi, demand the resignations of Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan over the Yom Kippur War farce.
25.2.1974 “Gush Emunim,” a new religious Zionist movement, was established. Its aim was the settlement in all territories of Eretz Yisrael.
11.4.1974 Prime Minister Golda Meir condemned the terrorist attack on Kiryat Shemona, in which 18 citizens were murdered. She also announced her upcoming resignation, in response to the interim report of the Agranat Commission.
20.5.1974 The Knesset held a memorial sitting and heard government announcements following the terrorist attack on Ma’alot and its 22 casualties.
30.5.1974 An announcement made by Prime Minister Golda Meir informed the Knesset of the Government’s decision to sign a Separation of Forces Agreement with Syria.
12.6.1974 The Knesset Speaker welcomed the freed captives from Syria to the Knesset; the Government reported on the torture of Israeli captives in Syria.
19.6.1974 A memorial sitting was held in commemoration of the three victims from the terrorist attack on Kibbutz Shamir; Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin reported on the first visit of a US President to Israel.
25.6.1974 A memorial sitting, as well as a governmental announcement, was held following a terrorist attack in Naharia: Terrorists broke into an apartment and killed a mother with her two children.
3.7.1974 An announcement was made by the Government regarding the economic policy, aimed to lower the inflation and commercial deficit.
31.7.1974 The Government reported on an attempt to establish a settlement in Sebastia. Hundreds of settlers had camped at Sebastia in Samaria, contended with security forces, and were evicted four days later.
28.10.1974 The Knesset debated the UN’s recognition of the PLO.
11.11.1974 The Government announced a 43% devaluation of the Israeli lira.
19.11.1974 The Government reported on a terrorist attack in Beit Shean: Terrorists penetrated the city, took over a residence building and killed four citizens. The terrorist were killed by IDF forces.
2.12.1974 The Knesset Speaker spoke on the terrorist attack on the Circassian village Rihania.

The Eighth Knesset officiated for three and a half years, during which two governments held office: The 16th Government, headed by Golda Meir, which resigned a month after its formation due to the Agranat Commission’s Interim Report, and the 17th Government, headed by Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin resigned from office after two and a half years, following an abstention of two of the three ministers from the National Religious Party in a no-confidence motion on the desecration of Shabbat. Rabin consulted with the Minister of Justice, Haim Zadok, and considered their abstention as a resignation from the Government. The Government continued to preside for six months as a transitional government.

In the elections to the Eighth Knesset, the Alignment and the Likud comprised 90 seats of the Knesset, signaling the transformation of the political system to a bipartisan system. These elections were the first to introduce a party that was concerned mainly with civil and human rights – the Civil Rights Movement.

During its term, the outcome of the Yom Kippur War had become evident. The Agranat Commission, appointed to investigate the circumstances leading to the outbreak of the war, published its Interim Report on April 1st 1974. This report led to the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir, though the Commission was most critical of the military. It actually praised Golda Meir’s administration, and did not find fault with the performance of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The Labor Party elected Yitzhak Rabin, despite his lack of political experience, to form the new government. This was the first of four election campaigns between Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for party leadership.

Despite the sounds of protest movements, the elections to the Knesset did not manifest the shock caused to the public by the war. The reactions were later evident towards the elections to the Ninth Knesset, including the formation of a new party – the Democratic Movement for Change. Ideological differences on the peace process and the fate of the occupied territories also began to evolve at this time, especially after the signing of Separation of Forces Agreements with Syria and Egypt and the Interim Agreement with Egypt. These agreements set the principle of land in exchange for peace.

The Gush Emunim movement was founded in February 1974, accelerating the settlement in the occupied territories.

The Eighth Knesset experienced an increase in terrorist attacks. In May 1974, terrorists attacked a school in Ma’alot. This attack resulted in 26 casualties, 21 of whom were teenagers. In July 1976, an “Air France” aircraft was hijacked to Uganda. The IDF committed a bold rescue mission in Entebbe, where Yoni Netanyahu, a commander in the force, was killed.

The Knesset debated over the international acceptance of the PLO and the meetings that began taking place between Israeli figures and PLO representatives.

Israel’s isolation in the international arena intensified. It reached its peak in November 1975, upon the approval of resolution 3379 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, in which Zionism was likened to racism. At the same time, the Soviet Union decided to prohibit Aliyah. The international status of Israel, as well as terrorist activity, were discussed often at the Knesset plenum.

The Eighth Knesset dealt often with the state of the national economy and the Government’s policy to reduce inflation and to balance the national deficit. This policy included the more than 40% devaluation of the Israeli lira, applied in November 1974. Israel’s national debt was enlarged due to the American assistance given during and after the Yom Kippur War. The Likud faction, and mainly its liberal element, severely criticized the Government’s handling of the situation.

In 1975, an inquiry committee on the status of women was established, headed by MK Ora Namir. Its establishment signaled an official change in Israel’s approach towards the status of women.

“Land Day” was marked by riots in March 1976, protesting the expropriation of lands in the Arab sector. Six Arab citizens were killed by the security forces in the riots.

Several affairs concerning financial irregularities within the governing authorities were exposed during the Eighth Knesset. Prime Minister Rabin resigned over the termination of the “historical alliance” between the Labor Party and the National Religious Party. Towards the end of his term, Rabin passed on his authority to Shimon Peres, due to the discovery of a bank account Rabin had in the United States from the time he served as ambassador in Washington. Aharon Barak, the Attorney General at the time, recommended that he resign.

During the Eighth Knesset, the Government had made first attempts to legislate the Basic Law: Human Rights and Basic Law: Legislation. These attempts failed, and have yet to be successful.

Video: Will To Do

Video: Will To Do

Debate on the Interim Agreement with Egypt
Debate on the Interim Agreement with Egypt
11.3.1975 Motions for the Agenda were raised regarding the attack in the Savoy hotel. Eight terrorists raided the hotel and held dozens captive. Three members of the rescue mission were killed, while killing seven terrorists and capturing one.
26.5.1975 An announcement was made by the Government concerning an agreement with the European Economic Community for the establishment of a cooperative free trade zone.
7.7.1975 The Government made an announcement regarding a terrorist attack at Zion Square in Jerusalem: A bomb was concealed by Fatah terrorists in a refrigerator at Zion Square, causing 13 fatalities and approximately 60 injured citizens.
3.9.1975 The Government notified the Knesset on an Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed with the mediation of American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
26.9.1975 MK Menahem Begin pledged to members of the Herut party that if he is elected as prime minister, he will never negotiate on withdrawal from Israeli territory.
11.11.1975 The Speaker of the Knesset spoke of the United Nations General Assembly’s condemning Zionism.
24.11.1975 The Government made an announcement regarding the terrorist attack in Ramat HaMagshimim, in which three citizens were killed.

A Selection of Enacted Laws

31.3.1976 The Rakach faction presented a no-confidence motion, following the death of six Arabs in the riots on Land Day.
21.6.1976 The Knesset debated the muddling of the Hebrew language in public speaking and in the media.
4.7.1976 The Government made an announcement on the rescue of the Air France hostages from Entebbe.
10.11.1976 A motion for the agenda was raised regarding meetings of Israeli public figures with representatives of the PLO.
22.11.1976 Yigael Yadin announced the formation of the Democratic Movement for Change.
14.12.1976 The Religious Torah Front faction raised a no-confidence motion following the desecration of Shabbat during the arrival of F-15 fighter planes; two of the three government ministers of the National Religious Party abstained in the vote.
21.12.1976 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resigned over the crisis with the National Religious Party. The Government became a transitional government, immune to no-confidence motions.

16.2.1977 A motion for the agenda was presented by MK Igael Hurvitz in regard to the transfer of millions of liras to the Labor Party, as admitted in court by party activist Asher Yadlin.
7.4.1977 Yitzhak Rabin withdrew his nomination to Prime Minister on grounds of his wife’s bank account in the United States. Shimon Peres took his place as Labor Party chairman and its top candidate in the elections against Menahem Begin.
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