Ministry proposes mandatory school trips to Jerusalem

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar says students' bond with capital must be strengthened; Barkat fully supports initiative.

Jerusalem old city 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem old city 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Based on new Education Ministry data that shows up to 50 percent of the country's pupils do not visit Jerusalem during the course of their studies, recently appointed director-general of the Education Ministry Dr. Shimshon Shoshani has begun an initiative that will require all elementary and high school pupils to visit the nation's capital at least once. Dr. Shoshani, whose appointment by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar will head to the cabinet for approval on Monday, said the plan was aimed at deepening "the Jewish, Zionist and democratic values of the pupils," and added that while the first step was the decision itself, it would be followed with a detailed program that would include visits to historical sites such as the Kotel, Ammunition Hill and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. Additionally, pupils will visit national institutions such as the Knesset and the Supreme Court. As part of the initiative, pupils will visit Jerusalem once while in elementary school, and then again at some point during high school. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar discussed the initiative with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who gave his full support to the program. "Within the education system, values are of the utmost importance," said Minister Sa'ar. "And with that comes the need to strengthen the bond students have with the capital."