Beersheba's Deputy mayor moves to increase patriotism at schools

Beersheba's school children may soon begin their mornings with a daily assembly at which the Israeli flag is raised and the national anthem is sung if Deputy Mayor Yigal Obshevetz has his way, reports Obshevetz (Israel Beiteinu) is also proposing that the national flag be placed in every classroom to enable children to develop a sense of identification with, and pride in, their country. According to the report, Obshevetz has proposed that the school day should begin with an assembly that concludes with the singing of the anthem and the raising of the flag, saying that this is an "educational act of great importance." But he says that even before the city moves to introduce such assemblies, it should make a point of placing the flag in every classroom. "As is known to all of us, the national flag is a very important symbol that connects people to their country," Obshevetz said. "It is a symbol that is used to create identification and pride by the citizen in his/her country." Several councilors greeted the proposals with cautious approval. Fellow Deputy Mayor Dr. Heftzi Zohar, who holds the education portfolio, said that although existing regulations meant there should already be a flag in every educational institution, it was still a good idea to place a flag in every classroom. "This is a welcome initiative but we need to be realistic, practical and pragmatic... in every school there needs to be a national corner that contains the story of independence, the flag and the words of the anthem," she said. And councilor Itzhak Marciano said that daily assemblies should be introduced, and that schools should be officially supplied with flags and other national symbols once a year. Meanwhile, councilor Ilana Gottlieb said the subject of patriotic assemblies should be kept "in proportion, and not be exaggerated to any side."