The Knesset may occupy a topographically and politically lofty plateau, looming imposingly over the city of Jerusalem and the future of the State of Israel, but as far as centers of national government go, it's surprisingly austere. The Knesset's blankly modern architecture hearkens back to time in Israel when socialism was the order of the day and government officials were expected to shy away from excessive flash, and while that era is sadly behind us, the Rothschild-financed edifice remains. Inside is the dominant body of Israel's government, the Knesset itself, an 120-member parliament patterned after the supreme religious council of ancient Judea.
Its members are usually at each other's throats, but somehow they manage to keep the country running. For those visitors wanting to get a firsthand glimpse of the legislative boxing match that is Israel's highest chamber of government, the Knesset offers public Knesset session viewing hours at 16:00 on Monday and Tuesday and 11:00 on Wednesday. Groups are also welcome, provided they phone ahead and make arrangements, with tours offered in Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Amharic, Yiddish, and Finnish. Jeans, shorts, sandals and revealing clothes are not allowed. Nor are Crocs, thankfully. Don't forget to bring your passport. Click here to check availability of hotels near the Knesset.
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