Thousands flock to Knesset for Open House day

Over 4,000 visitors celebrated the parliament’s 63rd birthday.

The Knesset 390 (R) (photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
The Knesset 390 (R)
(photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
More than 4,000 visitors celebrated the Knesset’s 63rd birthday at an open house on Wednesday.
The activities included public debates between lawmakers, storytelling hour with MKs in the Knesset library, tours with guides dressed as historical figures and arts-and-crafts workshops.
A series of debates on current affairs took place in the Knesset’s Negev Conference Room, including a heated discussion of a bill to save West Bank outposts between MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who proposed the bill, and MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta’al).
In addition, groups of high school students participated in debates moderated by legislators, on topics such as the national anthem, with MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), and euthanasia, with MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima).
Some lawmakers gave lectures, such as Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who taught civics to a group of highschool students, and MK Einat Wilf (Independence), who discussed the Independence Scroll, and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s legacy.
Some Israel Beiteinu legislators had creative ideas for participation in the open house, with MK Lia Shemtov leading an arts-and-crafts workshop, in which children and adults made flowers out of recycled materials. MK Moshe Matalon, who became handicapped during his IDF service and is a paralympian, showed visitors how to use a hand-cycle.
Guides dressed as former prime ministers Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Menachem Begin stood by podiums in the Knesset’s Chagall Hall and discussed their achievements.
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar participated in a prayer service in the Knesset synagogue, where Rivlin joked that he presides over the Knesset, but Amar can preside over any beit knesset (synagogue).
Following the service, Amar delivered a sermon, and dried fruit and etrogs (citrons) were served to the participants in honor of Tu Bishvat.