MembersGod and the Knesset

Few would take notice of the original meaning of the name given to the parliament of Israel.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Israeli Knesset
Israeli Knesset Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The term “Knesset” refers to the Great Assembly (Knesset Ha’Gdolah) made up of 120 scribes, sages and prophets constituting the political and religious leadership of the Jewish people from the time of Ezra (450 BC) to Samuel the Righteous (200 BC).


Today, there is little similarity between the ancient and the modern institutions, apart from the name and number of seats.


A survey conducted by the Hebrew daily Ha’aretz attempted to find out how many of the 120 members of Knesset (MKs) believe in God. E-mails were sent to every Israeli lawmaker asking just one question: “Do you believe in God?” Fifty-eight percent (70 MKs, both Jewish and Arab) answered in the affirmative. To clarify, however, many perceived the survey as invasive and either refused to answer, dodged the question or expressed outrage. As such, the true picture of where today’s Knesset stands on belief in God remains uncertain.

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