The Birthday of the Knesset
On the 15th of Shvat, 5709, February 14, 1949, the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was opened in the building of the National Institutions in Jerusalem. In that meeting a law was passed approving the name, "Knesset". Since then, Tu Bishvat marks the Knesset's birthday.
The temporary president, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, opens the first Knesset session.
An Excerpt of Dr. Chaim Weizmann's Address
With a feeling of awe and reverence I open the Constituent Assembly of the State of Israel, the first Knesset of Israel, in the eternal city of Jerusalem. Today we stand on the threshold of a new era! We are entering the organized and permanent democratic regime ... the renewal of the Kingdom of Israel.
All my days I labored and strove to implement science and research as the foundation of our national enterprise. But I also knew that above and beyond science there are lofty values, that only they could cure the afflictions of humanity. [These are] the values of justice and integrity, peace and brotherhood. "Zion shall be redeemed by righteous judgment, and her captives – with charity" (Isaiah 1:27).