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‘The sound of silence’: 2.5 million Israeli students start school

"I ask you that as you look around you and see your friends, every one of you is special and everyone is equal," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told first-graders at Almog Primary School in Ma'ale Adumim.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and other officials tour Almog Primary School in Maaleh Adumim on Sept. 1, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon/Government Press Office.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and other officials tour Almog Primary School in Maaleh Adumim on Sept. 1, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon/Government Press Office.

On what he called “a very happy day for you and I am certain for your parents as well,” and a “happy day for the State of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed first-graders on the first day of school Friday at Almog Primary School in Ma’ale Adumim.

“I ask you that as you look around you and see your friends, every one of you is special and everyone is equal. Look at each other, be friends and be good to each other,” he said in Hebrew. “Learn well and listen to your teachers and be good boys and girls to each other.”

Netanyahu was joined on the tour by Education Minister Yoav Kish, Ma’ale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel, Education Ministry Acting Director General Meir Shimoni and Teachers Union Secretary General Yaffa Ben-David.

Netanyahu told a boy named Yonatan that thousands of years ago, there also a little boy named Yonatan, who spoke and prayed to God in Hebrew, and that in another 3,000 years, another boy named Yonatan would do the same in Israel.

“You, Yonatan, and you children are the continuation of these children in the same place,” he said. “This is our land. This is our language and this is our past. It is also our future. We want you to study Hebrew and the story of our people and of this land.” But also study many new things – from the past and the future. Do you know what? In another 3,000 years, there will be another Yonatan here.”

“You hear that? The sound of silence. Happy first day of school to parents and children across Israel who are heading back to the classroom. Make us proud,” wrote an official Israeli Foreign Ministry social media account.

“Good luck to all the kids that are going back to school or kindergarten today,” added the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, wishing the children “a great school year.”

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