Google trains Street View on Knesset
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Google trains Street View on Knesset

Internet users can now visit Israel's parliament virtually, including peering into MKs' offices and sitting in the speaker's chair

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Knesset plenum, as seen from the speaker's podium via Google Street View. (screen capture: Google Street View)
The Knesset plenum, as seen from the speaker's podium via Google Street View. (screen capture: Google Street View)

Can’t get by the Knesset security guards?

Not to worry. Starting Monday, there is another way to visit Israel’s parliament.

The Knesset can now be toured using Google Street View, the program launched in 2007 that allows users to virtually visit locations around the globe on their computer screens.

A few weeks ago, four floors of the Knesset were filmed using Google’s 360 degree cameras, and the images were made available to the public Monday. Visitors are now able to see the building’s most famous sites like the Marc Chagall Lobby, take a peek at MKs’ offices, and view the Knesset floor from the Speaker’s chair.

In opening its doors to Google Street View, the Knesset joins other iconic government buildings around the world, including the White House, 10 Downing Street, and the Canadian Parliament.

“The project from Google makes the Knesset available to the virtual public square,” reflected Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. “Today, the Knesset is opened up and becomes a national house once again, a glass house, in which one can take a tour. There are truly opportunities to see the beauty of the Knesset, to delve in its jewels, to stroll down its halls, to see the works of Chagall and the plenum wall. We are not planning on canceling or reducing the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come by the Knesset every year, quite the opposite, we are striving to widen the circle of visitors and to give opportunities to more people to see the Knesset from their screen at home.”

Meir Brand, Google CEO for Africa, Israel, and Greece, added that, “Israel’s Knesset is going up on the map today, and joins the list of parliaments around the world which can be visited using Street View. Now, everyone with an Internet connection can wander in the Knesset as if he was there.”

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