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As summer vacation comes to a close, the watchdog organization "Le'an - For Preventing Youth Violence" announced Thursday that this year marked the most violent summer break of all time among pupils, characterized by what it termed "a dramatic increase in the nature and the level of youth violence."
"The danger of youth violence has become no less serious than the terror threat," it said in a statement.
The organization claimed that according to its data, the number of instances of youth violence rose by over 100%. The severity of the incidents had also increased, while the ages of the youth involved in the violence had dropped.
Le'an recorded numerous instances of violence among youth as young as 11 and 12, whereas in previous years the ages of those involved in violence generally ranged from 15-17.
The number of incidents in which youths used weapons rose by over 50%, and the number of times youths engaged in premeditated violence rose by over 300%. Le'an attributed this rise to a growing tendency to "avenge" previous insults or attacks, leading to an escalating use of force.
Meanwhile, Israel Police announced its plans to ensure that at least the first days of school would be safe for returning pupils.
All police districts - as well as the Border Police and the Traffic Division - will be operating on Level 3 standby. The police will reinforce the area around educational institutions as well as branching out throughout the country to maintain traffic order and prevent any potential terror attacks.
Police will add additional patrols, both vehicular and on foot, as well as undercover agents, at pupils' pick-up points, bus stops, major junctions and crosswalks, where they will help ensure that children cross safely.
The Traffic Division will also put special emphasis on the "Yellow Guard" crossing guards who are stationed to make sure that young pupils can make their way to school safely. The division also emphasized that it will begin an operation to check the fitness of the vehicles used to transport pupils to school.
Meanwhile, the Secondary School Teachers Association (SSTA) allayed fears of a delay in the start of the school year.
The SSTA announced on Thursday that it would adhere to a National Labor Court order barring it from holding a strike at the beginning of the school year.
On Monday, the court ruled that the SSTA, which had threatened to launch a strike at the start of the year, could strike on September 5 instead.
For its part, the National Teachers Union said it would not disrupt secondary school activities.
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