The Israeli Knesset celebrated 50 years to its current location in Jerusalem on Tuesday, in the presence of foreign ambassadors.
The jubilee anniversary included a celebratory conference for the foreign ambassadors to Israel. Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein presided over the event.
Over seventy ambassadors took part in the conference, during which the speaker for the foreign ambassadors, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Henry Essomba of Cameroon spoke. “The Knesset was and still remains the main source of legitimacy for Israel’s government,” he said.
“The Knesset is a very diverse legislature, with lively debates which positively surprise anyone witnessing them for the first time,” added Ambassador Essomba.
Prior to the construction of the Knesset’s permanent seat in Jerusalem, the Israeli legislative body had to assemble in a variety of locations. The first assembly was at the Jewish Agency building on Keren Hayesod street in Jerusalem. However, with the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem during the 1947 War, the assembly was moved to Tel Aviv.
The current seat of the Knesset is in the Government Complex on Givat Ram Hill in Jerusalem and was inaugurated in 1966 by Israel’s second President, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and the widow of Baron James Armand de Rothschild, who financed the construction the current Knesset building.
The conference addressed issues of inter-parliamentary and diplomatic cooperation, tackling regional and international topics of urgency.
Labor Party MK, Erel Margalit told the ambassadors “there are other things in the Middle East other than wars. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not everything here; we must also deal together with issues of water shortage, climate, energy and technology.”
“It’s time for creative economic initiatives for cooperation between the countries of the region,” concluded Margalit.
The conference concluded with the lighting of the third candle of Chanukah by Speaker Edelstein, which was accompanied by the American International School Choir.
“You who know the truth about Israel, I ask you speak loudly in your countries of the good and beautiful things in Israel, to speak of the inventive and democratic Israel you see every day,” Knesset Speaker Edelstein told the ambassadors.