Knesset tour guides (Knesset Spokesman's Office).
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Seven Knesset tour guides will go to Jewish communities on three different continents next week to teach them about the Knesset and Israeli society.
The program, called “Connecting to the Diaspora,” was planned in cooperation with the Jewish Agency in honor of 70 years of Israel and the Knesset, and will reach Manchester and Leeds in the UK; Vancouver, Canada; Toledo, Ohio; and other communities in those countries, as well as in Mexico and South Africa.
“Our shared fate connects the Jewish people everywhere,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, a former Diaspora affairs minister. “The differences never frayed the unity between us or made us forget our shared history – or dimmed the hope to continue writing the next chapters of the Jewish story together.”
“Along with me, there are dozens of elected officials in the Israeli parliament who moved here from other countries,” Edelstein pointed out. “We hope that with the help of this praiseworthy activity, our brothers in the Diaspora will learn the history of the Knesset [and] the uniqueness of Israeli democracy, and try to take part in a parliamentary debate.”
Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog called the Knesset “the beating heart of Israel’s vibrant democracy,” and praised Edelstein for emphasizing a connection with the Diaspora through this program.
“We are living in a time of deep conflict within our nation, and it is a great challenge that we must overcome in Israel-Diaspora relations,” Herzog added.
The guides will adapt the workshops they present in schools in the periphery for foreign audiences, and hold mock Knesset votes, ask trivia questions about Israeli democracy, host a game inspired by the Declaration of Independence and work with other visual aids. The activities are meant for schools, youth groups and adults.
On March 13, Edelstein and Herzog will participate in the activities through a live feed of the Knesset.
The seven guides chosen out of dozens in the Knesset’s visitor’s center consist of six women and one man, all of whom are university students who speak foreign languages and have ties to one of the communities they will visit. Some of them made aliyah without their families.
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