Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm in America, Watching the Inauguration, Tracking the Israeli Election

Shalom Girls & Boys:

You'll never guess where I am. I'm not in Jerusalem, not in Tel Aviv, not swimming in the Kinneret or trekking in the Negev. No, none of that. I'm right next door to Washington D.C.!!!

Can you believe??? I flew in yesterday and this place is just buzzing about the inauguration. I'm so excited! I've never seen a presidential inauguration before. And I'm thinking, wow, what a political time for me. Today I'm going to watch the inauguration and tomorrow I'm going to follow the Israeli elections.

Bet you didn't know that this is an election year for Israel. We're not as organized as you. We don't hold elections every four years. It's too complicated to explain. Let's just say elections are held when either the opposition succeeds in bringing down the government through a "no-confidence" vote, or when the government asks the Knesset to call for a new election.

The Israeli Knesset is our parliament. It is located in Jerusalem and it's where all of Israel's laws are passed. This is what the Knesset looks like.

Tomorrow Israelis are going to the polls to elect the members of the 19th Knesset. That means we've had 19 elections since the State was established in 1948. We don't have a president running the government.  We have a prime minister, the leader of the party who can combine enough parties to form a government (61 seats or more out of 120 Knesset seats).

Instead of talking politics -- which is the favorite pastime of every Israeli -- I'm going to give you a quick Hebrew lesson. The word כנסת -- Knesset -- means gathering. The root כנס is used in these words:
כנס -- conference
כניסה -- entrance
הכנסה -- to let somebody or something in, as in הכנסת אורחים -- welcoming of guests.

So, we're all waiting to welcome the new Knesset members. In the meantime, I'm taking my front row seat at the American Inauguration. BTW: I will be in the Washington area until the end of May, so if you have any questions about Israel, ask Zvuvi and I'll buzz back to you as soon as I can.

Knesset photo credit

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