A message from President Rivlin for the new school year

"Your curiosity is the what drives us all forward, and it is a force of incalculable value."

September 1, 2019 10:02
2 minute read.
Reuven and Nechama Rivlin

Reuven and Nechama Rivlin with children at the WIZO shelter.. (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)

Dear students – boys and girls, dear beloved teachers

This year, school begins on Rosh Hodesh Elul. It is a month of introspection, a month when we draw conclusions from what has gone before and when we set goals for the year ahead. Today and tomorrow over two million students will be going to school. This is Israel’s future – our next generation of leaders, men and women who will be our scientists, entrepreneurs, writers, intellectuals and doctors.

Across the country, students will pick up their schoolbags early in the morning and their parents will send them off with a smile mixed with a trace of worry. This is a picture that almost every family will recognize, but in truth these students differ in every conceivable way. They come from different tribes; they hold different views of the world; they even dress in different clothes. We Israelis justly take pride in this diversity, but at the same time we must not let differences become barriers. Where you come from must not be allowed to dictate where you end up.

“The windows of a classroom always open to the future,” wrote the poet Yehuda Amichai. While the future belongs equally to all Israeli students, Israeli Hope - the hope for society where there are no obstacles to the will to succeed and to ability - demands an excellent public education system like we need air to breathe. Education is key in the effort to reduce the gaps in our society, the effort to ensure that the Israeli dream is accessible to every Israeli boy and girl, dependent only on their talents and not on where they come from.

In Israel, where you live still has too much influence on how much you will earn as an adult. We have a long way to go before the different parts of Israeli society truly know each other and before there is true equality of opportunities for all Israeli children. I sincerely hope that the upcoming elections will see education, our most important issue, taking a leading role in the campaign. I hope we see our elected officials competing for the role of education minister, each with a plan to make it a byword for excellence and a source of national pride. 

Dearest students,

You are turning a new page. Don't give up. Make the most of school. Ask questions. Doubt. Dare to try, to make mistakes, and to try again. Don't be so quick to take the path we adults have trodden. Your curiosity is the what drives us all forward, and it is a force of incalculable value.

God bless you for a successful and happy school year, my dear ones.

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