The new Israeli parliament has been sworn in against the backdrop of one of the deadliest Palestinian suicide attacks in recent years. The Knesset began the opening ceremony with a minute’s silence. President Moshe Katzav was in charge of the proceedings. The mood was sombre because of the bombing, and Prime Minister-in-waiting Ehud Olmert said he was weighing up his response.
Knesset members were called up to take the oath of office, starting with the oldest – Shimon Peres, who is tipped for a cabinet post in the new government. The centrist Kadima party, which won the largest share of the vote in last month’s election, is trying to put together a stable coalition. It is looking primarily towards Labour, led by Amir Peretz, as a potential ally in pushing through key policies such as establishing permanent borders for Israel in the next four years. After the members of parliament were sworn in, all sang the national anthem – Hatikvah.