The Israeli Knesset is open to the public.
But getting a chance to join a tour
with the Jerusalem Press Club and get a behind the scenes look
is hard to turn down,
especially when I can take my camera.
People behind bars?
Yes-striking workers from Hadassah Hospital,
hundreds of them in the Wohl Rose Garden,
demonstrating across from the Knesset.
Too bad PA leaders were not around
to see what a peaceful protest really looks like.
Problems have built up for years in the medical center,
and the complicated situation affects everyone.
The latest news – 90 day delay and staff is to get 90% of their salary.
Hadassah medical specialists are experts at saving lives,
not for organizing protest rallies that offer dramatic photo ops.
The demonstration could easily be seen from the Knesset.
Hopefully a resolution will be worked out soon.
Hadassah is essential to everyone in the Jerusalem, Israel area and beyond.
With security it always takes awhile to get inside the building.
A year ago after elections, a paper poster with the members of the Knesset
with their photos was posted by the entrance doors.
There were so many new faces,
that the guards needed photos to show who should be allowed in.
Now there is a screen which shows which of the 120 members
are present in the building and which are not.
The modern-day legislature has 120 members,
similar to the number of members of the Knesset Gedolah of ancient times.
We got to walk around and
see some of the small meeting rooms and many works of art.
In one of many photo galleries, this one of deceased Prime Ministers of Israel,
a spot is ready for Ariel Sharon’s photo.
The view inside the main plenary is familiar to all.
The room was packed when Stephen Harper,
the Prime Minister of Canada, spoke here recently.
But European Parliament President Martin Schulz and
David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain,
are to speak also, but with much less hoopla.
UPDATE: Seems Schulz’s remarks did get noticed after all!
And Cameron had to cancel due to floods in England.
Every Knesset member had a copy of the State Comptroller’s report at their place.
But a few had other reading material on their desk.
I was glad to find at least one person is interested in the laws of shemita.
There was Rav Rimon’s book on the laws of planting in the seventh year,
but I could not clearly read whose name was on that screen.
The year is coming soon, last time in the cycle was a challenge.
The Knesset synagogue was on our tour,
but next time I really want to get a photo of the Muslim prayer room too.
MK Nachman Shai of Labor Party shared some of his views.
He had to leave to prepare his remarks,
as is the custom,
every Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm,
the opposition tries to “bring down the government.”
I guess he did not get a majority vote.
The present coalition government stands.
We are still here.
But Opposition is waiting to “ambush” at the right time of course.”
What a country!