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Knesset Highlights: Seventh Knesset

(1969 - 1973)

The main event during the term of the seventh Knesset was the Yom Kippur War, whose domestic and international political ramifications manifested themselves only during the term of the eighth Knesset.

Even before the war was over most of the African states broke off their diplomatic relations with Israel. The war was preceded by peace initiatives on behalf of the UN (the Jarring mission) and the U.S. (the Rogers Plan), which inter alia led to the breakup of the National Unity Government. The Geneva Peace Conference convened on the eve of the elections to the eighth Knesset.

At the beginning of 1970, amendment No. 2 was introduced into the Law of Return, which defined a Jew for the purpose of the right of return as anyone born to a Jewish mother or has converted and is not a member of another faith. In this period a wave of immigration from the Soviet Union began, and there was a problem housing all of these immigrants. At the same time in the Soviet Union Jews who identified with Israel were persecuted. The most marked event in this sphere were the Leningrad Trials.

The Knesset also dealt with the activities of the Jewish Defense League in the U.S., its attacks on Soviet offices in the US, as well as the League's activities in Israel, under rabbi Meir Kahane, and especially the League's attempts to convince members of Israel's minority populations - Arabs and Druze - to emigrate from the country.

The case of Meir Lansky - one of the Jewish heads of the Mafia in the U.S., who sought asylum in Israel - was also on the agenda. The Knesset dealt extensively with the subject of economic gaps in the society, and the term poverty line was coined. The Black Panthers started a series of violent demonstrations in Jerusalem. A sub-committee in the Knesset Economics Committee dealt with the problem of traffic accidents, after the number of fatalities in such accidents rose, towards the end of the 1960's, to over 400 a year.

In this period the wave of airline hijackings continued, and among the famous terrorist acts in the period were the attack at Lod airport and the murder of the Israeli sportsmen in Munich. All parts of the House were united in condemning the PLO, its declarations and activities.

Sources: The Knesset