Givat Ram is a neighborhood in the middle of the western city of Jerusalem. All of the important national institutions are located here: the legislature- the Knesset, the judiciary- the Supreme Court and the executive- the Government. Today it is possible to visit the Knesset- Israeli Parliament building and the Supreme Court. Most of the government offices are not frequently visited without an appointment. Between the different establishments there are green open spaces. Among these you can find Wohl Rose garden and the Bird Observatory.
The Knesset, means gathering or assembly; is the unicameral
national legislature of Israel.
As the legislative branch of the Israeli government,
the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime
Minister, approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of
the government. The building of the Parliament was financed
by the Rothschild foundation.
Some architects claim that the building was inspired by
descriptions of the Temple in Jerusalem.
In the assembly hall, on the southern wall, there is an abstract
art piece by Dani Karavan, named ‘Pray for the Peace of
The ceremonies salon contains the works of Marc Chagall.
Three tapestries decorate the eastern wall and create some kind of triptych art work.
The first one is dedicated to the biblical history of Jerusalem
and Israel. The second one relates to the present history of 1966,
before Seven Day War and the Unification of the city.
The last one combines elements from the modern history of
Israel and figures from the bible.
Free tours, open to the public are held every Sunday
and Thursday in several languages.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in Israel.
It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all other courts and,
in some cases, original jurisdiction. The number of Supreme
Court justices is determined by a resolution of the Israeli
Currently, there are 15 Supreme Court Justices. The current
residence of the Supreme Court was finished in 1992.
It was designed by the Karmi brothers. The gain a lot of
appreciations on the buildings together with criticism.
Some of the architectonic elements were taken from ancient
times and relates to the position of the Judge.
One main example is from the book of Deuteronomy:
“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates”,
so every entrance is designed like an old city gate.
The circle, straight line and the pyramid are the dominate shapes.
Open windows facing stone walls create contrast. Tours are held during weekdays in English at 12:00.
The Knesset Menorah is a bronze Menorah 4.30 meters high,
3.5 meters wide, and weighs 4 tons. It is located opposite the Knesset.
It was designed by Benno Elkan, a Jewish sculptor who escaped from
his native Germany to Britain. It was presented to the Knesset as a
gift from the Parliament of the United Kingdom on April 15, 1956 in
honor of the eighth anniversary of Israeli independence.
The Menorah presents 30 reliefs of events, idioms, characters and
concepts, which Elkan saw as the most important and significant in
the Hebrew Bible and Jewish history.
Feminine figures, like Rachel and Ruth, are represented side by side
with masculine figures, like Abraham, Jacob, Job and David, Profits
like Jeremiah, Ezra and Isaiah. Biblical scenes like the war against
Amalekites, Moses receiving the tenth commandments and the Vision
of Ezekiel of the dry bones mixed with historical events like the
golden age in Spain, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and prayers.
The Wohl Rose Garden, opposite the Knesset, features
around 15,000 rose bushes and more than 400 types of
exquisite roses. Considered one of the 11 most beautiful
rose gardens in the world, the Garden offers sprawling lawns,
a pond with aquatic plants, sculptures, quarries and a waterfall.
It was founded during the fifties, before the Residence of the
Parliament, as the President garden for official ceremonies.
During the works three graves from the second period were
A byzantine mosaic, found in kibbutz Sde Nahum, was installed
in the park. Only in 1981 the park became the rose garden.
David Gilad looked for an open space that would be able to
host the international rose exhibition.
Tedi Kolek, the mayor of Jerusalem, together with Wohl family foundation supported the decision.
Today it is a great place to catch some sun during spring or summer time, or just cross the garden
between a visit to the Supreme Court and the Knesset.
The JBO houses the Israel national bird-ringing center. Together with the active ringing station,
it serves as an ideal tool for conservation studies and research that monitor bird populations.
Birds Migration patterns in Israel are studied throughout the various seasons.
Data is collected and analyzed in a comprehensive database. Visitors can stop by for an eco-experience.
Bird watching and presentation about bird migration in Israel is available for tourists visiting as
groups or individuals. The Observatory is opened Sun-Thu 9:00-15:00. Entrance is free.
For more info: http://www.natureisrael.org/BirdingCenters
You start from Post Hostel in Jerusalem. Cross the Jaffa road and City Hall square to Shivtei Israel Street. From the bus stop take bus number 66
directly to the Supreme Court and Knesset.