Legislature marks 68th anniversary .
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Exactly 68 years after the decision of the Provisional State Council to establish the Knesset, the national legislature of Israel marked its anniversary on Tuesday.
This year’s theme was “young Knesset,” in which hundreds of school and university students participated in activities, including meetings with lawmakers and attending the different committees and the plenum discussions.
In their committee meetings, the youth presented issues that are close to their hearts and bothers them in their day-to-day life. For instance, in a discussion at the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, Almog Ben Moshe from Netanya raised the issue of lowering the voting age. “The right to vote is one of the most important rights that the Israeli citizens have,” she said.
“Lowering the voting age to 17 will bring the youth to be more involved with politics and civic life.”
Tal Rahamim from Efrat added that if they are old enough to drive, they are certainly mature enough to express their opinions and decide such important thing for their lives.
Later in the day, the “young Knesset” held a plenum discussion that was run by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein along with chairman of the National Student Council Hanan Yazdi and Noa Elmann from Israel’s Model UN. Throughout the discussion, the plenum had a model vote on a bill, one-minute speeches and questions posed to MKs. Social Equality Minister Gila Gamilel and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli.
President Reuven Rivlin, who attended the plenum discussion, said that he is worried about the lack of involvement and interest of youth in politics and in the public sphere.
“The presence of youth in the house of Israeli democracy is a cause for celebration by itself,” said Rivlin. “More and more youngsters are feeling alienation toward the democratic regime. The feel that the lawmakers do not represent them and that they have no means to influence the institutions that run their lives,” he said.
Rivlin then turned to the participants and asked them to be the ambassadors of democracy. “This is your way to influence reality – the closer you get to the democratic institutions, the stronger your impact on society will be.”
Edelstein also expressed his disappointment about the negative image the Knesset has among the Israeli people and called its members to avoid mirroring (TV show) House of Cards.
“Without a high-quality Knesset and gaining the peoples’ trust – we are losing the Israeli democracy,” he said. “I call on each and every one of you to avoid thinking only about your personal gain, the number of ‘likes’ you get or tomorrow’s headline – think about how you can help improving the Knesset image as the representatives of the people.”