Government Architecture

Our field trip a few Tuesdays ago took up to the Israeli equivalent of the United States’ Capital Hill. Located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem is the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and various government offices. I wrote a blog entry for my Jerusalem Challenge internship so I figure I’d share that with you here:

On a daily basis I’m confronted with the startling notion “I live in Jerusalem”. Considering that the city of Jerusalem is mentioned 623 times in the Tanach, it’s an overwhelming moment when you consider the reality of being a Jerusalemite. With such a significant and lengthy history, however long or short one’s residence is in this city, it’s guaranteed to leave a mark. One moment you can connect with a structure over 2,000 years old like The Western Wall, and the next moment you can be strolling along the freshly laid walkways of Mamilla Mall. The transition is often seamless and so well blended it’s hard to tell old from new. The thousands of years of history the land of Israel holds is starkly contrasted to the 62 years is has it has existed as a state. It’s impressive to consider how much has been accomplished in such little time against many odds and adversity.
Among these 6 decades are 7 wars, surely enough to impede the development of a democratic nation, yet demonstrated in it’s capital, Jerusalem, is the unwavering determination of Israel to establish itself as a just nation. Last week, I had the opportunity to tour the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Misrad HaHutz, and the Supreme Court, Beit HaMishpat HaElyon, in Givat Ram. Both are worth a visit if for nothing else than the beautiful and innovative architecture.
The Misrad Hahutz features onyx walls in the main lobby that cast an amber glow throughout the inside that from the outside you would never know and such a luminous effect. It is within this complex that Israel’s foreign policy is executed, as well as economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries.

Supreme Court

Beit HaMishpat HaElyon is an impressive building constructed in 1992 by a generous grant from Dorothy de Rothschild. What is truly impressive about this complex is it’s contrasting materials, lines, and architectural styles. As a whole it conveys the complex and varying influences on Israel. Along one of the main corridors is a panoramic view over Gan Sacher and Nahla’ot. The idea is to express a sense of transparency and connectedness with Israeli citizens, to illustrate the responsibility of the Supreme Court to uphold the highest level of justice.

Reflection

I really enjoyed taking a look at Israel from the perspective of its modern day developments and look forward to a future tour of The Knesset.