The Knesset building in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MKs celebrated the International Day of Democracy Thursday, by recording video messages about what democracy means to them in different languages.
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) spoke in English, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) in French, MK Haim Jellin (Yesh Atid) in Spanish, MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) in Arabic, and Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee chairman Ya’acov Margi (Shas) in Hebrew, and the clips were posted on the Knesset’s Twitter account.
Speaking with a framed copy of The Jerusalem Post
’s predecessor The Palestine Post
’s edition reporting the establishment of the State of Israel, Shai said: “If I look back to our history, I can really trace the democratic values that have always been an integral part of the Jewish people. Thus, the State of Israel, from its very inception, was, is, and always will be a democracy.”
“Democracy, for me, is the best political system. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s the best one, because it serves the will of the people,” Shai stated.
Haskel spoke from Chile, where she is heading a Knesset delegation, and said: “Democracy for me is the opportunity and the possibility of every individual to voice their opinion to express their ideology, except an ideology of violence against other people.”
Svetlova focused on a different aspect of democracy, saying: “For me, democracy is a constant quest for equality. It's looking at the weakest sectors of society and strengthening them, empowering them...it's protecting the rights of minorities making them never feel strangers in their own country.
“Democracy for me is the right of the press to cover every possible subject and to criticize every elected official,” Svetlova added. “Democracy for me is the Israeli Knesset.”
Jellin said that, for him, democracy is “to feel freedom and be a free person, to know that we can criticize everyone, including the government, without fearing that something will happen to me.”
Margi said democracies “put the citizen in the center of its priorities.”
“A democracy that succeeds in granting equal opportunities to all of its citizens is a fully-realized democracy,” he added.
The MKs recorded the videos as part of Democracy 2030, a project of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international body for lawmakers, examining the past, present and future of democracy.