As former prime minister Ariel Sharon was laid to rest on Monday, students
across Israel engaged in discussions and conversations surrounding his image,
work and contributions to the State of Israel.
Michal Cohen, director
general of the Education Ministry, announced Saturday night that schools would
hold activities in honor of Sharon, beginning Sunday morning and lasting through
A lesson plan, including a chronological time line on the life
and achievements of Sharon, short films of the leader and topics for discussion,
was prepared by the Education Ministry pedagogical secretariat, and sent out to
teachers and schools throughout the country.
The topics for discussion
addressed the meaning of leadership and assessed the character of Sharon as a
leader. Students were encouraged to think outside the box and develop their own
opinions of the former prime minister based on historical knowledge of his
service to the state.
A myriad of questions were recommended by the
secretariat for discussion, such as: “What was Arik Sharon’s vision,” “What in
your opinion were his contributions in shaping Israeli society” and “What type
of leader was Ariel Sharon?” An example of suggested activities included the
creation of an identity card for the former prime minister – with his personal
details as well as hobbies, famous quotes, and significant events in his
Students were also able to view short historical documentaries and
films of Sharon’s life and attribute famous quotes to the public
Brothers Tomer and Marom, who attend two separate high schools,
experienced different teacher responses to the ministry
Marom, a 10th grader at Alliance high school in Ramat Aviv,
said his teacher raised points for conversation and engaged the class in a
discussion on the life of Sharon and his contributions to Israeli
In sharp contrast, Tomer, an 11th grader at Ironi Daled high
school in Tel Aviv, said his class has yet two hold any discussions or
conversations on Sharon, and said that his teacher only made a brief mention of
the former prime minister’s funeral.
While the directive from the
Education Ministry addressed schools throughout the country, teachers were given
autonomy to decide the scope and extent of discussions and activities, with some
opting to dedicate an entire class to the subject and others just a fleeting
Education Minister Shai Piron expressed his condolences Saturday
evening to the former prime minister’s family, and said the education system
bows it head in his memory.