Knesset vote 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Knesset is celebrating its 63rd year by opening its doors to the public for
the first time next month, with events for children, students and
Knesset birthday events occur every year on Tu B’Shvat, the
Hebrew date on which the Provisional State Council first met in 1949. This year,
the day falls on February 8.
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As part of the celebrations, MKs plan to
participate in public debates on topics that have recently made the
For example, Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah
Judaism) and Committee on the Status of Women Chairwoman Tzipi Hotovely (Likud)
will debate discrimination against women singing in the IDF. MK Zevulun Orlev
(Habayit Hayehudi) will defend his bill to save outposts in a debate with MK
Taleb a- Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta’al).
No committee meetings are set to
take place during the Knesset’s open house. Committee rooms will be used for
lectures by MKs on topics ranging from Israeli national identity by MK Doron
Avital (Kadima), to ethics in the Knesset by MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), to an
arts-and-crafts workshop using recycled materials by MK Lia Shemtov (Israel
In addition, there will be no votes on bills. Instead, there
will be a celebratory meeting in the plenum.
Young children visiting the
Knesset can enjoy storytelling hours with MK Michael Ben- Ari (National Union),
who will read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree in Hebrew and MK Ofir Akunis
(Likud), who will read the Israeli classic Apartment for Rent by Leah
Older children may take a civics lesson with Knesset Speaker
Reuven Rivlin, and watch as high school students participate in debates
moderated by MKs on topics such as the national anthem, with MK Eitan Cabel
(Labor), and the merits and disadvantages of Facebook, with MK Ruhama
Tours of the Knesset will be given throughout
the day in Hebrew, featuring actors dressed as former prime ministers David
Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Menachem Begin, as well as first president, who
presided over the first Provisional State Council meeting, Haim
There will also be tours of the Knesset Channel
In honor of Tu B’Shvat, the biblical seven species of the Land
of Israel will be presented outside of the Knesset. Nearby, Knesset security
dogs will show off their skills.
Although the Knesset will be open to the
public on February 8, anyone planning to visit is asked to contact the Knesset
Visitors Center at tours@knesset.
gov.il or 02-6753337 in advance for