Back to School!

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In keeping with the way Israeli society and culture treats children, the start of the new school year is a big deal. Not only has it featured as the topic of numerous media pieces in the run up to the actual day – including the inevitable political coverage of Naftali Bennett’s plans as published by the Ministry of Education – but it has also been marked by the usual social media commentary of relieved parents, glad to see their offspring out from under their feet back in full time education.

As usual, the academic year starts on 1st September, so today is when the traffic returns to its higher level of cramped chaos.

On the plus side, as you can see from the icon at the top, Google Israel is marking the occasion. If Google had been around when I was returning for a new school year, to be realistic the graphic would have had to include a tie, a slide rule, a book of log tables, a football, a packed lunch, a bag of tomato flavored crisps, and a switchblade. No, the knife wasn’t mine, but I saw enough being carried by my contemporaries.

Anyway, all the best to the kids going to school here, especially first timers. Here’s hoping they all have a great experience. Good luck everyone!

[A post about my school experiences in more detail, the importance of teachers, their lowly pay here, and the woes of the educational system in much of the western world, will have to wait for another time.]

What did you do in the Summer?

We had a war. How about you?

Meantime, it’s the first of September, and time to go back to school.

schooltime

Yes, it’s front page news – that’s Israel HaYom‘s front page, anyway – that the kids are going back to school.

As the Times of Israel reports online:

Some 2 million Israeli school kids grabbed their backpacks and headed back to school Monday, as a fraught summer closed with a mostly calm return to studies.

Tragically, Daniel Tragerman will not be joining them.

The report continues:

The opening of the school year in the south of the country had been up in the air until just a week ago, when 50 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza ended in a ceasefire.

In the south and around the rest of the country, much of which also suffered rocket fire, the Education Ministry stressed that it would help students work through the effects of the summer’s military operation.

In the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which raged for most of the summer vacation, the first several weeks of the school year were to be devoted to activities designed to help returning students process and deal with their experiences over the summer, the Education Ministry said on Sunday.

Also, due to issues relating to incitement and hate speech that became apparent over the summer, the first two weeks of the school year are to focus on “a discourse on solidarity, the importance of the State of Israel and its value,” Education Minister Shai Piron said ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, which was held in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council as a show of solidarity with the south.

Read it all, here.