The Knesset has hosted the gala event of the “Connecting to the Diaspora” project, a joint initiative of the Knesset and the Jewish Agency in which Knesset tour guides visit Jewish communities abroad to teach them, through various activities, about the Knesset and democracy in Israel.

The guides adapt the workshops they present in schools in the periphery for foreign audiences, and hold mock Knesset votes, ask trivia questions about Israeli democracy, host a game inspired by the Declaration of Independence and work with other visual aids.

During the gala event, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog participated in the activities through a live feed of the Knesset and spoke with the Jewish youngsters in Mexico City, Johannesburg, Vancouver, Michigan, Los Angeles, Hamilton and Manchester.

Responding to questions from the students, Speaker Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog expressed hope that the next Knesset will be “more worthy” and “more representative.”

Speaker Edelstein said “We are connected by the Knesset across oceans and continents,” adding “dear Friends, like you, I grew up outside of Israel—behind the Iron Curtain, in fact. I had barely heard of this country; when I was young, Jerusalem was a place I knew about only from the radio. I could only dream of connecting to Jews in other countries. It took years of study and struggle, but I reached Israel. Here I found a home and built my life.

“This story is not mine alone. With me in the Knesset are dozens of colleagues who made Aliyah from different countries, together fulfilling the vision of the Return to Zion,” he told the Jewish students. “You, too, can be part of this story. I hope you seize this chance to learn in-depth about Israel: our values, how we pass laws, and how we build bridges linking Israel and the Diaspora. And I hope you build further on this connection to the Knesset and to Israel. I look forward to seeing you here for a real—”live” visit. The doors of this building will always be open to welcome you.”

Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog praised the initiative to connect Jews in the Diaspora to the “beating heart of Israel democracy during a challenging period for the Jewish nation.”