Knesset Speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu:
|Knesset Speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu |
plants a tree outside of the Knesset
Tu Bishvat 1976
I hereby open this Knesset sitting. Members of the Knesset, the 15th of Shvat is traditionally the New Year of the Trees, and in our modern tradition it is also the New Year of Israeli parliamentarism.
In past years we marked the 15th of Shvat, the Knesset’s birthday, with great festivity. In recent years we have been holding more modest events; in honor of the Knesset’s 27th birthday we held today a tree-planting by students of schools in Jerusalem and hosted a festive luncheon for outstanding soldiers and policemen, as well as outstanding employers in manufacturing, especially from developing areas, and representatives of Refuseniks from Russia and Syria, along independent citizens noted for their volunteer work.
They are now sitting in the visitor’s gallery; and I greet them with all my heart on behalf of us all.
Dear guests, in our constant struggle for defense from our external enemies and from the criminals amongst us, and for the existence and strength of our economy and our purity of character – we need more and more citizens to ask what they can do for the country, and fewer to continue to ask what the country can do for them.
You gave and continue to give a personal example. This house, the house of representatives and legislature of the State of Israel, is blessed by you and your actions, you and your followers, and wishes the Israeli people that more will follow in your way.
Members of the Knesset, the minimalism we have taken upon ourselves needs not undermine the value and essence of this holiday. The establishment of the Knesset and its existence are a blessing and a holiday for Israel. The democratic parliamentary rule that exists in Israel places her among the leading civilized states in the world. Among 144 states that are members of the United Nations, only 40 have parliaments; and in those 40, only 28 have parliaments that are elected at regular intervals and are comprised of a multi-party system; of 96 states to reach independence after the Second World War, only 21 were established with parliaments, of which only 9 remain today.
This is therefore a holiday for Israeli democracy and a mark of prestige to the State of Israel and its people, which lead a democratic parliamentary life, under complex conditions that no other nation had experienced before. These have come to be the fundamental basics of our culture and character, as if it had always been his way.
Visitors from many countries come and visit us and continue to be impressed with the fact that a state under siege and war that absorbs so many people from countries with no democratic traditions – we are committed to fully free and democratic lives.
|Knesset member Akiva Nof plants a tree outside|
of the Knesset building on
Tu Bishvat 1976
Indeed, we benefit from our democratic parliamentary observance, as the openness of our debates and the acceptance of democratic decisions form a unique, tried and tested method to dispel tensions – whether internal, external, private, or public.
I have had the chance to join Knesset delegations to democratic parliaments, and I have felt the great appreciation of our hosts of the variety of opinions found in our delegations, these hosts who are familiar with our national common denominator. This is an invaluable moral, cultural and political power.
The first Speaker of the Knesset, Joseph Shprinzak, said regarding the Knesset on its day of establishment, 27 years ago: We planted a tree.
Let us treasure this precious tree, so that we and our children after us will enjoy its fruits and make blessings over them.
This material is an unofficial translation of
the "Divrei Haknesset" minutes.