The Knesset is celebrating on Tuesday its 65th birthday (which falls on Tu Bishvat) by once again opening its gates to the public and to groups that are taking part in a wide range of activities in an ”open house” model.
No less than 75 Knesset members are participating in the day`s activities, all of which will are open to the general public (visitors registered in advance).
”On the occasion of the Knesset`s 65th birthday, we are opening the House to the entire public so that it will be able to become familiar with its representatives from up close and in order to remind people that the Knesset is the `home of the people,` that it belongs to each and every citizen and that its work is very relevant and affects every citizen in the country,” Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said.
”Throughout the day visitors will be able to choose between dozens of diverse activities, tour the parliament building`s various wings and take part in cultural events and other activities along with numerous Knesset members representing all of the legislature`s factions. A unique experience is in store for us all,” Speaker Edelstein added.
”Open house” day, which is being held under the slogan ”Promoting Israeli Discourse,” will conclude with a special prayer led by Israel`s chief rabbis and a celebratory plenum session at 4 pm, which will include speeches by Knesset Speaker Edelstein, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog.
Below is the day`s full program:
• MKs and the Knesset Speaker will participate in ”story time” for children.
• Hyde Park: MKs will raise certain topics for public discussion, and groups of teenagers will present arguments to support their positions.
• ”Personal viewpoint” tours conducted by senior Knesset employees.
• Discussion between the Knesset Speaker and teenagers on ”our identity.”
• Panel discussion on the relations between the Knesset and the media.
• Dozens of debates between MKs from all factions on a topic of common interest. The debates will be held simultaneously during the course of the day.
• ”Coffee chat” between Knesset members.
• Workshops conducted by Knesset members – painting, guide dogs for the blind.
• Dramatizations by theater actors portraying figures such as Marc Chagall, Kadish Luz, Golda Meir and King Hussein prior to the Yom Kippur War, Menachem Begin and David Ben-Gurion arguing over the reparations from Germany.
• Musical discourse hosted by the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
• Visitors will make wishes and wish the Knesset well.
• Display by the Knesset Guard`s dog handlers.
• Performance by the Israel Association of Community Centers Orchestra
• Project Muse
• Beit Hatfutsot Project – computerized database containing thousands of genealogies of Jewish families.
Additional events that will be held at the Knesset this year to mark Tu Bishvat – the Knesset`s birthday:
– A Tu Bishvat seder will be held at Chagall Hall on January 15 at 4 pm, with the participation of some 40 MKs, teenagers and 60 visitors. The seder is an initiative of MK Ruth Calderon, with the participation of Opposition Chairman Herzog and Rabbi David Stav. During the seder, four toasts will be made, participants will recite a blessing over the fruit from the seven species and midrashim (Talmudic literature) will be read.
– Dedication of Knesset Trail – A new walkway will be dedicated to mark 65 years since the Knesset was established and the 60th anniversary of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. The ”Knesset Trail” will be dedicated on Thursday, January 16 (Tu Bishvat) at noon, at the plaza where the Knesset Menorah stands, near Palombo Gate. The trail will pass between nature and heritage sites such as the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden gate and more.