Pupils from the Yemin Orde youth village met with Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) on Monday, a day before the youngsters return to school for the first time since large swaths of the village were destroyed in the Carmel wildfire.

On Sunday, teachers and counselors returned to the village to prepare for the restart of courses on Tuesday.

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Yemin Orde is a boarding school that is home to more than 500 children from around the world and their Israeli guides, many of whom are post-army or performing national service.

While most of the children are from families in Israel and abroad, the school is also home to a large number of orphans between the ages of 9-19 from the former Soviet Union.

The buildings damaged in the fire included student dormitories, faculty houses, the village convenience store, the library and a workshop.

During Monday’s visit, Sa’ar told the pupils, “Last week we were contending with the fire and the crisis associated with it. Now we are dealing with rehabilitation.

We dealt with a national tragedy and many people lost their loved ones, the most difficult thing in the world.”

He praised Yemin Orde’s teachers and administrators, who he said showed great leadership in a time of crisis. Sa’ar vowed that his ministry would continue to provide assistance to the village and that soon it would return to its former glory.

“We have and will continue to work to ensure you receive all of the assistance required. Whatever help is needed, we will ensure it is provided. This place will be remembered not for the fire, but for the generations who will study here,” he said.

Following the four-day fire, the Education Ministry approved an emergency assistance package for Yemin Orde valued at NIS 3 million. The money has so far helped provide temporary structures for use by the school while renovations of the permanent structures are carried out.

Portions of the package will also fund increases in psychological treatment for students and faculty, winter clothing for students, and school supplies.

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