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Knesset Highlights: Third Knesset

(1955 - 1959)

The main event during the term of the third Knesset was the Sinai Campaign, which began on 29 October, 1956. Many debates were held on the issue of the withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula after the campaign, as demanded by the Americans.

The campaign, which was executed in cooperation with France and Britain, was preceded by many infiltrations of "fedayeen" from the Gaza Strip into Israel and a major arms deal between Egypt and Czechoslovakia. After failing to be invited to the Bandung Conference for non-aligned states, Israel made major efforts to establish diplomatic and economic relations with the African countries that started gaining independence in this period.

Amongst the many events that occurred during the term of the third Knesset and came up for debate were: the shooting down of an El Al plane in the air-space of Bulgaria on 27 July, 1955 - an event in which 58 persons found their death; the Kfar Kassem affair on 29 October, 1956, in which 49 inhabitants of the village were shot to death by soldiers from a border police unit on the eve of the outbreak of the Sinai Campaign, after they had broken a curfew of the existence of which they were not aware; the violent strike of the "Ata" textile factory workers, which broke out on 10 May, 1957; and the first violent outbreak in Israel against an ethnic background - the Wadi Salib riots in Haifa, on 9 May, 1959.

As in the past, the religious parties frequently raised the issue of the non-observance of the Sabbath in the State of Israel, and MKs from Maki raised questions on the issue of the military administration to which the Arab citizens of Israel were still subject in this period.

On 29 October 29, 1957, a dramatic event took place in the Knesset, when a mentally disturbed man, whose motives were not clear, threw a hand grenade into the plenum, which wounded Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and several ministers.

Sources: The Knesset