A delegation of Alliance network pupils from France and Switzerland arrived in Israel last week as part of a sister-schools program, Yachdav (Together).
Some 100 fourth-grade pupils and their teachers arrived in Israel for a 10-day visit March 18 through March 27 as guests of Kol Israel Haverim (All Israel are Friends), the Israeli branch of Alliance Israélite Universelle – a Paris-based international Jewish organization promoting Jewish education and social values.
“Their excitement is tremendous – this is the first time we are bringing such young pupils to Israel,” Yehuda Mimran, CEO of Kol Israel Haverim, said on Wednesday.
As part of their visit, the delegation learned of the history and activities of the Kol Israel Haverim organization. The pupils also met with Israeli youth, visited historical sites and were exposed to Jewish philosophy and thought and contemporary Israeli culture.
“This visit helps to strengthen the connection between youth in Israel and the Diaspora. We have seen a growing curiosity of pupils and their parents toward Israel, and today there is a greater willingness for parents to encourage their children to visit the country,” added Mimran.
The Yachdav program aims to improve the connection between Alliance schools in Israel and the Diaspora as well as strengthen the global Jewish identity of the visiting delegation.
During their stay, the French and Swiss pupils met with their counterparts from Alliance network elementary schools, including schools in Beersheba and Kibbutz Sa’ad in the South.
They were also hosted by the Mikve Israel youth village school in Holon – founded by the Alliance Israélite Universelle in 1867 – where they met with pupils from the Israeli- French school and played a joint treasure-hunt game.
Mimran added that he sees great importance in strengthening the relationship of youth and students from France and abroad with Israel and its young people by “focusing on mutual guarantees of equality and partnership in the spirit and values of Alliance Israélite Universelle.”
Kol Israel Haverim is a social and educational organization acting to promote a moral and equal society in Israel across two main fronts: Jewish social education and educational excellence for students. The organization operates over 90 schools with some 30,000 students and 5,000 teachers in the state and religious state education systems throughout the country.