In Jerusalem, Israel,
the 4th session of the 20th Israeli Knesset
opened this week after a long break.
Early on, nearby streets were closed to traffic
but closings did not prevent protests.
In the road near the Israel Museum,
were visually impaired folks with their guide dogs.
Closer to the Knesset there were more groups protesting.
Once getting past the protesters,
and while waiting in the security clearance line,
I saw the flags were being changed.
Israeli flags came down, and Georgian ones went up,
which meant a leader of Georgia
(not the US state) is soon on his way to Knesset.
here is the mandatory photo of the Knesset.
But, who else
takes the Knesset view of where I live?
Arriving early takes off timing pressures,
so there was plenty of time to oblige these young men with a photo.
Being one of the first ones in the plenary hall
meant that I could get the seat behind the webcam.
WomenWagePeace were there early too,
and saved front row seats in the visitors’ gallery.
MK Oren Hazan was one of first
members of the Knesset to arrive,
but there were no infamous selfies like with Trump.
He only wandered over to talk with the opposition.
I wonder what they were saying?
But promptly at 4:00 pm,
the international ambassadors were seated
and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived.
President Reuven Rivlin and Speaker Yuli Edelstein
took their seats at the dais and
the session was called to order.
Many seats were still empty.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was one late arrival.
selfies galore from spectators,
and MKs could also be found with cameras in hand.
The diversity of guests seated
throughout the galleries was obvious.
As the Speaker and President spoke,
the room was respectfully, boringly quiet.
But as the Prime Minister got into his remarks,
Yair Lapid might have said something,
but this MK would not stop shouting and was removed.
It was quite a show to behold
as Knesset members exited stage left.
When the Prime Minister returned to his seat
after touting Israel’s successes,
and responding to shouts from the opposition
by calling them “sourpusses,”
his ministers rose to shake his hand.
There were handshakes from coalition,
and more selfies.
MK Miri Regev seemed to be having a great time.
Though he was one of last to arrive,
MK Aryeh Deri had MK Avigdor Liberman’s ear.
You know the expression,
“Read my lips?”
many of those who spoke to the
Prime Minister covered their mouths,
like Mk Ofir Akunis above.
The leader of the opposition MK Yitzhak Herzog
was the final speaker in this part of the program.
The crowds filed out, as more visitors waited to get in.
The Jerusalem streets were quiet
as the sun was setting,
and traffic returned to the littered, post-protest streets.
What an afternoon.
For more of the experience, here is a one minute video,
as stills could not capture it all.
Now I am left wondering
how does anything get done in the Knesset?