“One generation shall laud Your works to another and declare Your mighty acts.” Psalms 145:4 (The Israel Bible™)
On Friday, September 1, 2017, more than 2.2 million Israeli students returned to school, including 163,000 first graders, 123,500 twelfth graders, and 180,000 teaching staff.
Israel’s leaders and politicians visited schools throughout the country to welcome the students back for the new year.
“Shalom, kita alef, ve’bet, ve’gimmel, ve’hey,” he said, greeting “first grade, second, third and fourth.” In Hebrew, grades are designated by Hebrew letters rather than numbers.
He used the alphabet – in Hebrew known as the aleph-bet – to give over a short teaching about the fundamental Jewish rights to Israel.
“Now, because it is the first day of school, I want you to remember the alphabet: Alef for aretz (ארץ – land): this is your land. Bet, bayit (בית – home): the state of Israel is your home. This is our land, this is our country; always remember this.”
President Reuven Rivlin chose to attend an opening ceremony at the Nofei Haselah Elementary School in Maale Adumim, a large city outside of Jerusalem located in Judea, over the “green line.”
Rivlin gave the students a short lesson in Jewish thought at the opening. “One of the first things we learn as citizens of the world and as Jews is to love your neighbor as yourself. This is true even when we don’t love each other, but we still have to respect each other,” he told the 25 first-graders.
Rivlin’s decision to speak at the Maale Adumim school was a strong statement of government support for the “settlement” enterprise.
According to Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), the new school year will be marked by major reforms: the English as a second language program is switching to spoken English; the afternoon Nitzanim program will offer students social activities, develop creative thinking, help with homework, and serve a hot and nutritious meal; second teaching assistants in classrooms; reduced class sizes in grades 1-3; expansion of the differential budgeting, based on student’s economic strata; reforming the adaptations for students with learning disabilities; pushing the maximum mathematics program in periphery cities; expanding social involvement to include junior high schools; and a strong emphasis on the upcoming 70th anniversary of the state of Israel.
Bennett issued a new school year statement saying: “I congratulate the students and parents who open the new school year and wish you a year of activity, meaning and enjoyment of the learning processes in school.
“I also congratulate the principals and teachers of Israel on the occasion of the new school year. You are the backbone of this important system. Thanks to your important and meaningful educational work, the system is moving forward today. It picks up the yield of your moral and educational achievements.
“I know that this year, too, as in the previous year, you will continue to support the students who have difficulties – do not give up on them and do not give in to them.
“You will continue to integrate students into community involvement, equip their schoolbags with the values of tolerance, of giving and of love of the land.
“I know that all these involve endless work, after-school and into the night. And for that, I give thanks and appreciation in my name and in the name of Israeli society,” the Education Minister concluded.
With additional reporting by Breaking Israel News staff.