The Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, in Jerusalem was illuminated in blue on March 29 as part of the international Light It Up Blue campaign for World Autism Awareness Day.

This is the first time that the Knesset took part in the Light It Up Blue campaign, in which thousands of iconic landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families affected by autism.

Landmarks taking part in the campaign include Petra, Jordan’s archaeological site; Macy’s Herald Square and Bloomingdales in New York City; the Suez Canal in Egypt; Taipei 101 – The Skyscraper Center in Taiwan; Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain; Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles, California; and dozens of others.

World Autism Awareness Day, as sanctioned by the United Nations, is marked annually on April 2. But because that’s a Saturday this year, and Israel’s government is on a Sabbath break then, the Knesset chose to begin its awareness campaign a few days earlier.

”Promoting the rights of children, teenagers and adults on the autism spectrum is a social mission of the highest priority,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. “As part of the movement toward integrating people with disabilities, I am proud to mention that here, in the Knesset, we too integrate these dear people in various positions, which they fill in the best possible way according to their abilities.”

Israel is known as a major center for studies on autism and is known for its social and educational programs that help families deal with this developmental disorder.