The Knesset, the Israeli parliament,is celebrating its birthday

 6 Shvat 5772

The Knesset, the Israeli parliament,is celebrating its birthday

On its 63rd anniversary the Knesset is to hold an „Open House” for thousands of visitors. Events include: MK’s story hours for small children; debates on current affairs by high school students, exhibition of official gifts; and actors portraying major national figures.

Speaker Rivlin: „I promise our visitors an exceptional experience.”

This year Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has chosen an innovative way of marking the Knesset’s birthday on Tu Bishvat – 15th Shvat [New Year for the Trees]<’Shvat.aspx&gt;, that this year will fall on 8th February

The Knesset will hold an „Open House” for visitors who will be offered a wide range of activities.

We suggest interviews with the Knesset Speaker, Director General or Knesset Spokesman

On that day (8.2.2012), visitors to the Knesset will be able to choose between dozens of activities taking place from the morning to late afternoon. These will include: Workshops given by Knesset Members on a variety of subjects, not necessarily political; MK’s from opposite ends of the political spectrum will hold open debates on current issues; story hour for young children given by Knesset Members who will discuss the stories with the children. The happening will also include tours of the Knesset TV Channel studios, a display of the guard dogs’ skills by dog handlers of the Knesset Guard; an exhibition of official gifts received at the Knesset over the years; and in the Chagall Hall, where official ceremonies are held, actors portray well-known national figures who will talk to the visitors. Some fifty Members of Knesset will take part in the various activities, including Speaker Rivlin, who will give school students a „Civics Lesson”.

Rivlin notes that „The Knesset will truly fulfill its role as the ‘House of the People’ when thousands of Israelis come and enjoy this wide range of activities. The goal of this Open House is to celebrate the Knesset’s anniversary in a way that will help people feel closer to the work and special role of the Knesset. The happening on Tu Bishvat will be a blend of educational activities, cultural events, activities presented by MK’s and the traditional ceremonies held every year. I promise our visitors an exceptional experience.”

The day will begin with the traditional tree planting ceremony that this year will take place in the Arazim Valley, part of the Jerusalem Metropolitan Park, and will end with a festive Plenary session with the participation of the President of Israel, the Prime Minister, the Knesset Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chair of the National School Students Council. The theme of the session will be „The Knesset as the House of the Nation

dor le’dor yabiya omer [generation to generation, they pour forth speech].”

There will also be a festive afternoon prayer service in the Knesset synagogue with the participation of the Chief Rabbis.

This Tu Bishvat Open House is one of the programmes being developed by the new Knesset Visitors Centre, which seeks to offer all citizens a visit to the Knesset that will include educational content geared to their specific interests. The Visitors Centre is developing a wide range of programmes and tours for all ages and all population sectors as well as special projects such as this Open House on Tu Bishvat, the birthday of the Knesset.