Waves Sharon Knesset

  • issue: February 1999
  • Designer: Daniel Goldberg
  • Stamp Size: 40 mm x 25.7 mm
  • Plate nos.: 332
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

The Knesset is the house of representatives of the State of Israel and its legislature, which symbolizes more than any other body in the state its democratic system. In addition to legislation and debates on the central issues on the national agenda, the Knesset supervises the executive branch, and elects the State President and State Comptroller. Elections to the Knesset are usually held every four years.

On January 25, 1949, before the official ending of the War of Independence, elections were held in Israel for the Constituent Assembly - a body, which according to the Proclamation of Independence, was supposed to prepare a constitution for the state. The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly was held in the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem on February 14, 1949. Two days later Prof. Chaim Weizmann was elected President of the State of Israel, and the Constituent Assembly decided to change its name to "Knesset" after the Great Knesset, which had convened following the return of the Jews to Eretz Yisrael from the exile to Babylon in the 5th century BCE. The number of Knesset Members - one hundred and twelve -was also determined according to the number of members in the Great Knesset.

Following the opening meeting of the Constituent Assembly, and due to the uncertainty regarding the legal status of Jerusalem, the Knesset moved to Tel Aviv. However on December 13, 1949, following the famous statement by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion to the effect that Jerusalem was an integral and inseparable part of the State of Israel, it moved back to Jerusalem.

For over 16 years, until the new Knesset building was completed, it held its meetings in the Frumin building on King George Street. On July 25, 1956, the Knesset Presidium, together with the Association of Architects in Israel, announced the holding of a public competition amongst the state's architects for the planning of the permanent seat of the Knesset in the government compound on Givat Ram. The first prize was granted, on the basis of a unanimous decision, to Joseph Klarwein. In their decision, the judges emphasized the building's dignified appearance and unexaggerated dimensions. The money for building the Knesset building was donated by the Rothschild family, and the construction work took nine years. The building was inaugurated on August 30, 1966.

Amongst the famous works of art built into the Knesset building are:

Dr. Susan Hattis Rolef
Editor of the Knesset web site

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The Knesset - 50 Years