Knesset celebrates 50 years with MK talent show
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Knesset celebrates 50 years with MK talent show

Story-telling, guitar-strumming, karate-playing lawmakers entertain the public on anniversary of Israeli parliament’s iconic building

Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir performs during the 50th anniversary of the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)
Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir performs during the 50th anniversary of the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)

The Knesset on Tuesday held an “open house” for Israelis, celebrating the parliament’s 67th anniversary and 50 years in its current location in Jerusalem.

The open house included more than 100 events with participation from members of the house, including music, sports, karate, environmental activities and storytelling.

A special ceremonial session was called for 4 p.m. on Tuesday to mark the occasion, with speeches from Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

At Edelstein’s request, all speeches were being devoted to the Knesset’s dignity, position and public image.

MKs Hamad Amar (Joint Arab List, right) and Tzachi Hanegbi stage a karate contest at the Knesset's 50th anniversary celebrations, January 19, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MKs Hamad Amar (Joint Arab List, right) and Tzachi Hanegbi stage a karate contest at the Knesset’s 50th anniversary celebrations, January 19, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“This event will highlight the Knesset’s central position in Israeli public life since the establishment of the state and the way in which the Knesset’s home in [Jerusalem’s] Givat Ram was present in every event in the state’s history since its establishment 50 years ago,” Edelstein said, in a statement carried by the Knesset website.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sits with children visiting the Knesset on Tuesday, January 18 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Knesset building in Jerusalem. (Knesset)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sits with children visiting the Knesset on Tuesday, January 18 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Knesset building in Jerusalem. (Knesset)

On Tuesday a new garden was inaugurated in the Knesset’s Weil Plaza.

“We have a great privilege this year in marking 50 years to the building of the Knesset in a series of events and educational projects, as in improving the appearance of the Knesset and the plaza in an inspiring, creative way,” Knesset director-general Ronen Plot said.

Illustrative: The Knesset, Israel's parliament building in Jerusalem. (Orel Cohen/Flash90)
Illustrative: The Knesset, Israel’s parliament building in Jerusalem. (Orel Cohen/Flash90)

The Knesset convened in various temporary buildings from the establishment of the state until 1966, when it moved to the building designed by architect Ossip (Yosef) Klarwein.

Kulanu MK Yifat Shasha Bitton reads a story to children visiting the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. Knesset)
Kulanu MK Yifat Shasha Biton reads a story to children visiting the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. Knesset)
Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin shreds on the electric guitar at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)
Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin shreds on the electric guitar at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)
Tesh Atid MK Yaacov Peri reads to children from a Hebrew translation of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree at the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)
Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri reads to children from a Hebrew translation of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree at the Knesset on Tuesday, January 19 2016. (Knesset)
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