• Issue: June 1966
  • Designer: R. Errell
  • Plate no.: 171
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The Knesset building was designed by architect Joseph Klarwein, with the late Dov Carmi acting as an advisor. It extends over an area of 90,000 sq. m.; its six stories face south while the three atop the hill face northwards. In front of the building there is a spacious compound designed for festive occasions, state functions and parades.

The building is divided into wings reserved exclusively for Knesset Members - the assembly hall, hexagon-shaped committee rooms, reading rooms, cafeteria and rest-rooms, and parts open to the public: a visitors' gallery, cafeteria and lobby. The lobby is decorated with mosaics, the work of Marc Chagall, who also designed the east wall "Gobelin" woven in France. The "Gobelin" depicts scenes from the history of the Jewish people and is made in the form of a triptych - its central part measuring ten by five meters, its side panels five by five.

The official First Day Cover for the new Knesset stamp bears the image of the late Joseph Sprinzak, a leading figure in the State of Israel and the World Zionist Movement, who served as first Speaker of the Knesset till his death in 1959.

When the State of Israel declared its independence - May 14, 1948 - its democratic regime was established, taking form in the provisional State Council. Following the elections in January 1949, the First Knesset was constituted, and every Knesset thereafter had been assembling in temporary quarters.

The State of Israel's legislative assembly - its Knesset - is composed of 120 representatives, forming a single chamber. In the first 18 years of its existence the Knesset promulgated over 1,000 laws pertaining to all spheres of life.

On August 30, 1966, the Knesset inaugurated its permanent seat, perched astride the slope of Givat Ram in the west of Jerusalem. The hill of Givat Ram commands the view of a wide valley where the traces of Jerusalem's past join its pulsating present - the ancient Monastery of the Cross on the one hand, and on the other the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University Campus, fruits of the Jewish renaissance.

The Knesset building was erected with funds donated by the late James de Rothschild, son of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, "Father of the Yishuv." The story of this illustrious Jewish family abounds in noble deeds and contributions towards the up-building of the Yishuv - the State. The erection of a seat for the Knesset - material symbol of Israel's independence - may be viewed as a crowning act in this record of glorious achievement. In the words of James de Rothschild's testament: "Let the new Knesset building become a symbol, in the eyes of all men, of the Permanence of the State of Israel."

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Inauguration of Knesset Building