Preparations for swearing in of 25th Knesset
Preparations for swearing in of 25th KnessetYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israel’s twenty-fifth Knesset will be sworn in on Tuesday, featuring 23 new lawmakers elected for the first time in the general election two weeks ago.

The swearing-in ceremony is set to begin at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in the Knesset building, during which all 120 MKs-elect will take the oath of office.

The newly sworn-in MKs are then scheduled to gather for a toast, with faction leaders meeting with President Isaac Herzog and Supreme Court chief justice Esther Hayut for the traditional inauguration group photograph.

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to bring his new coalition government to the Knesset for approval already Tuesday immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, but has thus far failed to resolve lingering questions regarding the allocation of key ministerial positions, chief among them, Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich’s demand he be appointed Defense Minister.

Netanyahu, according to a report Monday night by Channel 12, is opposed to appointing Smotrich – whose only experience in the Cabinet was during a brief tenure as Transportation Minister – as Defense Minister, and is seeking to convince Shas chairman Aryeh Deri to take the Defense Ministry portfolio rather than the Finance Ministry, allowing Smotrich to be appointed Finance Minister.

Netanyahu, who was formally tasked by President Herzog this Sunday with forming a new government, has until December 11th to reach coalition agreements with Shas, United Torah Judaism, the Religious Zionist Party, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam.