“I am the education minister of 2.3 million students of all communities: Jews, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox. They are all my children,” Bennett stated.
By: World Israel News Staff
After a long, hot summer, over 2,310,000 Israeli students started the school year on Sunday at approximately 5,000 schools across the country.
Entering the classroom for the first time, 167,000 first-graders excitedly and anxiously joined their peers as they set foot on their path to knowledge. Some 131,000 12th graders began their last year of high school.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett congratulated students and teachers on what he said was the smoothest opening of the school year for some time.
“The state education system is home to all Israeli students. I am the education minister of 2.3 million students of all communities: Jews, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox. They are all my children,” Bennett stated. “Every child in the State of Israel deserves an excellent education and a fair opportunity.”
Bennett underscored that “in the face of recent polarization in society, I felt the remedy for this problem was unity and reconciliation through education. Therefore, I decided that the coming school year will be held under the banner of ‘unity.’ We must remember that arguments within the family are fine and healthy, as long as we always remain a family.”
The students will encounter the theme in two main areas: the first is the unity among all elements of Israeli society; the second, Jewish peoplehood and the connection with Diaspora Jewry.
Education Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav announced several new initiatives, including, for example, large-scale national school holiday programs, innovative equipment for research and participation in youth movements.
Additional key reforms include extra staff members in around 6,000 kindergartens, smaller class sizes and expansion in the studies of mathematics, English and the Hebrew language.