The fourth Knesset started with David Ben-Gurion's Mapai party forming the ninth government on 17 December 1959. His coalition included the National Religious Party, Mapam, Ahdut HaAvoda, the Progressive Party and the three Israeli Arab parties, Progress and Development, Cooperation and Brotherhood and Agriculture and Development. The government had 16 ministers. Mapai's Kadish Luz became the Speaker of the Knesset.
The government collapsed when Ben-Gurion resigned on 31 January 1961, over a motion of no-confidence brought by Herut and the General Zionists concerning the Lavon Affair. After Ben-Gurion was unable to form a new government new elections were called. At only one year and nine months, the fourth Knesset is the shortest Knesset term to date.