The Knesset – Heart of the Israeli Democracy


The Knesset in Jerusalem


One of the fascinating sites to see in Israel’s capital Jerusalem is the national parliament, the Knesset. The building is open for visits by the public and many people take advantage of the opportunity. Due to the coming elections, the Knesset is not in session, but as usual, hundreds of people, both adults and school children could be seen touring inside.

The present building of the Knesset was built in 1966. It is a large structure, with several levels and numerous halls. Its internal architecture is simple, without many decorations.


The exterior of the Knesset



Another view of the exterior


The decorations are limited to replicas of ancient Jewish artifacts and a few modern paintings.


The youth of Israel


One of the halls contains an exhibition of photographs showing the history of the Israeli parliamentary life. You can see in it the most memorable moments of the new Israeli history.


Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat and Shimon Peres



Benjamin Netanyahu after winning the 1996 election


The only exception from the modesty that rules in the building is the Chagall Hall located on the fourth floor. It is decorated with three magnificent tapestries designed by Marc Chagall. In his typical style, which is not very easy to understand, he has depicted the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people.


The Chagall Hall



The central tapestry showing the Jewish past

This is the hall, where most official ceremonies of the Knesset and the Israeli government are held. Here the foreign delegations and dignitaries are greeted. In one of the corners, behind a glass, is the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Until recently, that was the original parchment signed by the members of the Knesset in 1948. However, the parchment started to deteriorate and it had to be moved to the national archives. What we see now behind the glass is an exact replica of the declaration.


Israel’s Declaration of Independence


Well, after seeing what’s inside the building, let’s see how the “Zionist entity” is being run from that building. If you listen to the “Palestinian” terrorists and professional recipients of international welfare and their leftist friends, you’ll get the impression that the Knesset is inhabited by evil Jews, whose only purpose is to hatch sinister plots for enslaving the world and especially the innocent Muslims.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Knesset is a complex body, which represents all citizens of Israel. Since in the country there are so many people with totally different opinions, that complicated reality is reflected in the parliament.

Unlike many other countries, Israel has a very low election threshold – a political party needs only 2% of the national vote to get a seat. Thus, the Knesset always includes numerous parties, large and small (there were 12 in the latest one), which often have diametrically opposing views. The voters cast their ballots not for personalities, but for party lists. That situation makes the forming of a government difficult and prevents one party from dominating the Knesset.

That it is the most interesting feature of the Israeli politics. One may expect from a country, which is surrounded by Muslim fanatics, who would gladly destroy it (and they attempted it many times), to have some kind of a military dictatorship as a form of government. Instead, Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, while all other countries are dysfunctional “democracies” or dictatorships.

The Israeli government is always kept on its toes by the Knesset – the members hold a confidence vote every Monday. All the sessions of the Knesset, as well as its committees’ meetings (with the exception of the national security committee) are broadcast live on a specifically designated TV channel (number 99). The meetings can be attended by the public – with an appointment for the committees meetings (due to limited space) and without appointment for the general sessions of the Knesset. In the central hall (the Plenum) the public sits behind a bulletproof window.


The central hall of the Knesset


The name of the Israeli Parliament and the number of its members (120) were determined by the political body, which existed in ancient Israel after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. At the podium in the middle, in front of the Israeli flag, is the place where the Speaker of the Knesset sits and from where the members and the foreign visitors give their speeches. In front of the Speakers seat you can see a table, around which the prime minister and the cabinet ministers sit. To the left of the government table are the chairs of the members of the ruling coalition. To the right are the seats of the official opposition. Behind the table are the seats of the representatives of the smaller parties.

No matter what you may think about Israel, the country is a democracy, where no politician could forget his or her voters. What a sharp contrast with the “Palestinian” government! Both in Gaza and the territories the mandate of the leaders of Hamas and the presidency of Abbas had expired long time ago, yet that fact doesn’t seem to bother the Arabs and their lefty backers.

© 2012


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