Chagall Hall last night hosted the gala event of the Connecting to the Diaspora project, in which guides from the Knesset Visitors Center are visiting Jewish communities and conducting activities on the Knesset, democracy, and Israeli society.
This activity, done in cooperation with the Jewish Agency to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel and the Knesset, takes place mostly in unconventional destinations, such as Manchester and Leeds in England, Vancouver in Canada, and Toledo, Ohio in the United States.
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Yoel Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzchak Herzog spoke during the event, which also featured live broadcasts of activities from the various locations around the world from the activity centers in Mexico City, Johannesburg, Vancouver, Michigan, Los Angeles, Hamilton, and Manchester.
The activities are done by means of special cases containing activities that simulate Knesset votes on an activity carpet with a picture of the Knesset plenum, trivia questions about Israeli democracy, a game in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, visual aids with pictures of the chairman's gavel, the Knesset Guard uniform, a "speakers podium", and more.
In response to students' questions about the forthcoming elections, both Edelstein and Herzog noted that they hope the next Knesset will be "more calm and representative".
Edelstein said, "Through the Knesset, we cross seas and continents and connect with all Jews in the Diaspora wherever they are. Our Jewish brothers, we look forward to seeing you in Israel; the Knesset is your home. Dozens of Knesset Members, like me, weren't born in Israel and immigrated to Israel from various countries. As a child, I barely knew Israel or heard of it. After years of struggle I arrived here."
Herzog added, "I welcome the initiative of the Knesset with the Jewish Agency to connect Diaspora Jewry to the beating heart of Israeli democracy at a challenging time for the Jewish People. I often encounter lack of understanding of the Israeli democracy system, and it's therefore very important that Israeli youth expose the Diaspora to the beauty of Israel and the vibrant message of Israeli democracy."
Knesset Information Center Director Tamar Fuchs told Arutz Sheva after the event that "this is a record event of the 'Connecting to the Diaspora' program, where our counselors were sent to seven communities around the world.
"I was surprised to find out that the Jews of the Diaspora are watching what goes on in the Knesset, and there were also criticisms and the idea was that everyone should express his opinion. I can tell you about our emissary, Ran Dayan, who was sent to a United States kindergarten and there was great excitement among the students of the school that an official emissary of the Knesset came to them. I think following the success of the program, it'll reach other countries."