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Knesset Highlights: Ninth Knesset

(1977 - 1981)

The ninth Knesset was the first in which the parties belonging to the Labor Movement were in opposition, after the political upheaval in the Knesset elections and the formation of a Right-Center government by Menachem Begin. This was also the first Knesset in which a totally new party - the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) - entered the Knesset with a substantial number of seats.

In the course of the ninth Knesset many Knesset members moved from faction to faction, and this especially against the background of the disintegration of the DMC.

Several Knesset members changed factions three or even four times in the course of the ninth Knesset. The main event during the term of the ninth Knesset was the visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem in November 1977, and his appearance in the Knesset.

After less than a year and a half, the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state was signed. The Knesset appoved the Camp David Accords in September 1978, by a large majority, and the peace treaty with Egypt in March 1979. In the course of the ninth Knesset talks began with Egypt on an autonomy plan for Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, but the talks did not lead to an agreement.

In light of the worsening of the security situation along Israel's northern border the Litani Operation took place in March 1978.

A number of terrorist attacks in this period failed, but in March 1978 there was an attack along the Coastal Road and another attack in Antwerpen in Belgium in which Jewish children were hurt. Toward the end of the ninth Knesset the Israeli air force attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

During the term of the ninth Knesset the Jewish settlement movement in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip was accelerated: a permanent settlement was set up at Elon Moreh, Beit Hadassah in Hebron was settled and the number of Jews in the territories rose to about 8,300. In this period an attempt was made by Jews to assassinate several mayors of Arab towns in the territories. "Peace Now" was founded in 1978.

During the term of the ninth Knesset, three ministers of finance served, but most of the attention was focused on the foreign currency liberalization of Simha Erlich.

In the course of the ninth Knesset the phenomenon of "specialized" financial allocations for religious institutions developed. There was a steep fall in the number of new immigrants from the Soviet Union, and the Knesset dealt with the issue of the Prisoners of Zion - Nathan Sharansky, Ida Nudel, Yossef Mendelovitz and Victor Breilovsky. The Knesset dealt with the issue of the displaced persons from Iqrit and Bir'am.

Sources: The Knesset