PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu greets a pupil during a visit at the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school on the first day of the school year, in the Arab town of Tamra in the Lower Galilee..
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER)
Learn math, history and science, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told first and second-graders in the Arab city of Tamra on Thursday, adding that he wants them to be anything they want to be, including “loyal citizens integrated into the State of Israel.”
“This is your state,” he said on the first day of school, as a teacher translated his words. Netanyahu said he expects the children to learn Hebrew, Arabic and English, and to learn Jewish history as well as the history "of your communities."
“I want you to learn the truth, and the truth is that we are destined to live together,” he said.
Netanyahu visited the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school in the Lower Galilee together with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who, speaking in Arabic, welcomed the pupils and teachers to the new school year.
“Together we will chart groundbreaking achievements,” Bennett said. “We should all have a year of understanding, love, hope and success. It is important for me to say here, I am the education minister of everyone; all the pupils are my children.”
The children greeted their guests wearing cardboard crowns and white T-shirts, some of which said “Shalom first grade,” and others “Shalom second grade.”
“I want every one of you to do two things,” Netanyahu said. “The first is to study. The second is to be good children. Listen to your parents. Listen to your teachers.”
Following his visit to Tamra, Netanyahu proceeded to Upper Nazareth where he visited the Yodfat school and met with first grade pupils in a special education class. He also met with fourth-graders, opening their class with a short lesson on “Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
President Reuven Rivlin, meanwhile, opened the school year by visiting a first grade class in the Psagot school in Kiryat Bialik. As the pupils sat around him in tiny chairs, he said he knew that many of them were longing for kindergarten, where “you learned a little and had a lot of fun. But you should also know that you have fun when you learn in school as well.”
After Rivlin noted that everyone in the class already knew how to read and write, a boy sitting next to him asked, “Do you?” Rivlin laughed and replied, “I learned and have not forgotten.”
The president said that everyone speaks, writes and behaves a little differently, “but we all must know one another and be tolerant of each other.”