On Sunday, September 1, Israel’s 26,000 educational institutions welcomed over 2.3 million kids of all ages back to school. About 200,000 teachers and staff waited with open doors, satisfied with an agreement from the Finance Ministry after threatening to strike the week before.
Despite averting a large protest, the Education Ministry listed that 49 schools across the nation were on strike, affecting approximately 35,000 children on their first day of school. Many of the strikes were led by local teachers for local causes, yet some were held to protest against the deportation of Filipino workers, in support of fellow students and classmates. Ironically, the issue relates to Israel’s theme for the school year, tagged by Education Minister Rafi Peretz, as “mutual responsibility and strengthening of values.”
With education being at the forefront of access to opportunity for the children of Israel, values of morality, diversity, kindness and learning are values of which the foundation of Jewish culture was built. For the 130,000 graduating seniors, and the 168,000 children entering first grade, it is the most impactful period to learn, practice and witness positive action. For the hundreds of thousands who work, or parent, children, may this school year be full with role models capable of leading by example, and ensuring our next generations are raised with a strong desire to learn, live by their morals, and exemplify their values so that we and our future generations may flourish together.