Full Text Israel Political Brief September 1, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Opens the 2015-2016 School Year at Primary Schools in Ashdod and Ashkelon Remarks Transcript



PM Netanyahu Opens the 2015-2016 School Year at Primary Schools in Ashdod and Ashkelon

Source: PMO, 9-1-15

Photo by Avi Ohayon, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today opened the 2015-2016 school year at the Amirim primary school in Ashdod, where he was welcomed by the children with flags and songs, and at the Ramat Keramim primary school in Ashkelon. He was accompanied in Ashdod by Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yehiel Lasri and Education Ministry Southern District Director Amira Chaim, and in Ashkelon by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

In Ashkelon, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “The first lesson in first grade is ‘Shalom first grade’ with the emphasis on shalom [peace].’ We educate our children for peace. A few kilometers from here, Hamas teaches is children the opposite of peace and it tries, from time to time, to fire at us, at you. And our policy is clear – zero restraint, zero let-up, zero tolerance for terrorism. We respond to every firing at our territory, whether by open or concealed action, and we also foil terrorism like we did yesterday in Jenin. I wish a quick recovery to the soldier who was wounded. We want peace but we first of all we must watch over our land, our children, we must watch over you. This is our first obligation – the security of our children.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu added: “There are two major things here – a great momentum of construction in Ashkelon and momentum in our education system. In education, we want you to study, expand your knowledge, know how to read and write, read the Tanakh and also write new things. You should know mathematics and sciences. I know that you already know how to use computers but you should use them not just to play games. You should be able to use them to connect to the entire world, to know what you want to know and to excel. Don’t just excel, be Zionists too. We have just the army and this land and we need to watch over it. I would like to wish all of you in first grade and up in his growing and developing school that you should study and succeed and above all be friends with each other. And remember, each one of you is different. Respect each other and love one another because we love you very much. May you have much success.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 22, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of Today’s Cabinet Meeting on Knesset Winter Session and Zionist Education — Transcript



Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of Today’s Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 10-22-14


Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting:

“Next week we will open the Knesset winter session. We have very important missions facing us, several of which we will deal with at today’s Cabinet meeting: The war against black capital, cutting the bureaucracy that finds expression in excess regulation and – of course – moving forward on dealing with natural gas and the production of electricity via alternative energies.

The last thing we need now is elections. The State of Israel needs a stable, strong and responsible government, and I call on all members of the coalition to work together and to continue working together for the benefit of the State of Israel and its citizens.”
“Today we mark the beginning of the academic year. On behalf of the Education Minister and all ministers, I would like to wish the hundreds of thousands of students in the State of Israel a productive and successful year.

The essence of our entire educational system, including higher education, may be summarized in two words – Zionism and excellence. Zionism, so that we know why we are here, not just where we are going but why we are staying here, and the second thing – excellence. Simply put, let us never compromise on results; it is impossible to compromise on results. A system that does not produce excellence and does not bring out the best in everyone vis-à-vis achievements, is a system that is not realizing what it can do, and the people and State of Israel have proven that they can do quite a lot. Therefore, I am pleased to hear about the Education Minister’s plans and I am very interested in moving forward on anything that will promote Zionism and excellence.”

Israel Musings January 23, 2014: Harper spends remainder of Israel trip playing tourist and being honored



Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent the remaining day and a half of his four-day Israel trip on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 21 and then Wednesday, Jan. 22 playing the tourist, taking in some of Israel’s holiest sites…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 21, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Student Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day



PM Netanyahu Meets with Student Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

Source: PMO, 5-21-13

יום שלישי י”ב סיון תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the occasion of National Student Day, today in his Jerusalem office, met with student leaders from around the country, including National Union of Israel Students Chairman Uri Reshtik. Also participating in the meeting were Education Minister Shai Piron, Deputy Minister for Youth and Student Affairs Ofir Akunis and Prime Minister’s Office director-General Harel Locker.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “There are needs that must be dealt with but there are also great changes. We stopped very negative trends in education in general and in higher education in particular, and we have begun to turn them around after the ‘lost decade.’ The previous and current governments were and are committed to investing over NIS 7 billion in higher education and this is what led to the turnaround. There are still needs such as lowering the cost of housing and the cost of living, and these must be invested in and broken; we will act in this sphere as well. We must improve the education that we provide, from preschool to higher education and beyond, and make it more efficient. The electronic revolution requires us to jump forward, and be ahead of the world, not behind it. Alongside technology, I think that we cannot neglect our heritage and the spiritual values that are important to us.”

National Union of Israel Students Chairman Reshtik thanked the Prime Minister for his willingness to mark National Student Day. He added: “Israeli students take responsibility for the society in which they live; therefore, they request that the government to build the appropriate infrastructure that would allow students to be productive citizens who contribute to society and thus significantly influence making ours into a more just society. This infrastructure includes investing in higher education, inter alia, by making it more accessible to residents of the periphery and helping immigrant, minority and economically disadvantaged students. Such an investment is pure profit for the Israeli economy which will benefit from the integration of more academics in the labor force.”

Education Minister Piron said: “Marking National Student Day expresses our recognition of the student public to the development of the State of Israel and Israeli society, and it gives the message that the State of Israel ascribes great importance to developing its human capital. Higher education is the main key toward integrating into society. In the end, the student public joins the labor market and translates its studies into action. Therefore, cooperation between institutions of higher education, society industry and the economy is of crucial importance.” Minister Piron announced that he intends to advance the accessibility of higher education to all sectors as part of a comprehensive approach regarding equal opportunity in society and the use of higher education as a primary tool in advancing equality and strengthening the link between preschool-to-secondary studies and higher education. He added: “The educational system must define matriculation exams that match the needs of academia. On the other hand, there is a need for academia to adapt itself to the needs of the Education Ministry regarding its limitations and educational goals.  I have set a strategic goal – that we will not need all the institutions that intermediate between secondary education and academia or at least reduce the dependence on them. This adaptation is especially relevant given the Education Ministry’s plan to reduce the matriculation exams and strengthen the pedagogic responsibility of school principals.”

Deputy Minister Akunis referred to the Finance Ministry’s intention to eliminate the tax credit for academics: “I am in touch with the Finance Minister on this issue in the hope of bringing about a re-evaluation of the cancellation of the benefit. Today more than ever, it is important to invest in advancing students and the higher education system since they are the maim potential for growth in the Israeli economy.” Deputy Minister Akunis called on Education Minister Piron to join in the effort, adding, “The tax credit is an incentive for many people to attend the academic institutions in Israel and acquire a higher education.”


ראש הממשלה נתניהו נפגש עם יושבי ראש אגודות הסטודנטים מרחבי הארץ לרגל יום הסטודנט הלאומי

Source: PMO, 5-21-13

יום שלישי י”ב סיון תשע”ג

נתניהו: עצרנו מגמות מאוד שליליות בתחומי החינוך בכלל וההשכלה הגבוהה בפרט והתחלנו לסובב אותן אחרי ‘העשור האבוד’

לרגל יום הסטודנט הלאומי, נפגש היום ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו במשרדו עם יושבי ראש אגודות הסטודנטים מרחבי הארץ בראשות יו”ר התאחדות הסטודנטים הארצית אורי רשטיק. בפגישה השתתפו שר החינוך שי פירון, סגן השר הממונה על קידום צעירים וסטודנטים אופיר אקוניס ומנכ”ל משרד ראש הממשלה הראל לוקר.

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו אמר בפגישה: “יש צרכים שצריך לטפל בהם, אבל יש גם שינויים גדולים. עצרנו מגמות מאוד שליליות בתחומי החינוך בכלל וההשכלה הגבוהה בפרט והתחלנו לסובב אותן אחרי ‘העשור האבוד’. הממשלה הקודמת והנוכחית מחויבות להשקיע למעלה מ- 7 מיליארד שקלים בהשכלה הגבוהה וזה מה שמביא לסיבוב. עדיין קיימים צרכים כמו הורדת מחירי הדיור ויוקר המחיה, וצריך להשקיע בזה ולשבור את זה, וגם במישור הזה אנחנו נפעל. עלינו להשביח ולייעל את החינוך שאנחנו נותנים מהגיל הרך ועד גמר ההשכלה הגבוהה ואחרי ההשכלה הגבוהה. המהפכה האלקטרונית מחייבת אותנו לזנק קדימה, להקדים את העולם ולא להיות מאחוריו. ולצד הטכנולוגיה, אני חושב שאסור לנו להזניח את המורשת, וערכי רוח שהם חשובים לנו”.

יו”ר התאחדות הסטודנטים, אורי רשטיק, הודה לראש הממשלה על נכונותו לציין את יום הסטודנט. רשטיק הוסיף: “הסטודנטים בישראל, לוקחים אחריות על החברה בה הם חיים ולכן הם מבקשים מהממשלה להניח את התשתית הראויה, שתאפשר לסטודנטים  להיות אזרחים יצרניים שתורמים לחברה, ובכך להשפיע משמעותית בהפיכת החברה הישראלית להוגנת יותר. תשתית זו כוללת השקעה במערכת ההשכלה הגבוהה, בין היתר, באמצעות הנגשתה לתושבי הפריפריה ובסיוע לסטודנטים עולים, מעוטי יכולת וחסרי אמצעים. השקעה מסוג זה היא רווח נקי למשק הישראלי שיוכל ליהנות משילוב של יותר אקדמאים בשוק התעסוקה”.

שר החינוך שי פירון: “ציון יום הסטודנט מבטא את הכרתנו בתרומתו של ציבור הסטודנטים להתפתחותה ולעיצובה של מדינת ישראל והחברה הישראלית והוא מעביר מסר שבמרכזו החשיבות שמייחסת מדינת ישראל לטיפוח ההון האנושי שבה. ההשכלה הגבוהה היא המפתח המרכזי להשתלבות בחברה. ציבור הסטודנטים יוצא בסופו של יום אל שוק העבודה ומתרגם את לימודיו למעשה. על כן ישנה חשיבות מרכזית ליצירת הלימה ושיתוף פעולה בין המוסדות להשכלה גבוהה לבין החברה, התעשייה והמשק”. פירון הודיע כי בכוונתו לקדם את הנגישות להשכלה הגבוהה בכלל המגזרים זאת כחלק מתפיסה כוללת של שוויון הזדמנויות בחברה והיותה של ההשכלה כלי ראשון במעלה לקידום השוויון, ולחזק את הקשר בין הלימודים במערכת החינוך עד גיל תיכון לבין הלימודים במסגרת ההשכלה הגבוהה. “יש צורך שמערכת החינוך תקבע בגרויות התואמות את צרכי האקדמיה, ומן הצד השני יש צורך שהאקדמיה תתאים עצמה לצרכי משרד החינוך למגבלותיו וליעדיו החינוכיים. הצבתי יעד אסטרטגי – שלא נזדקק לכל המוסדות המתווכים בין התיכון והאקדמיה או לכל הפחות נצמצם את התלות בהם. ההתאמה הזו רלבנטית ביתר שאת נוכח התוכנית של משרד החינוך לצמצום הבגרויות ולחיזוק אחריות ההוראה של המנהלים בבתי הספר”.

סגן השר אופיר אקוניס התייחס לכוונת האוצר לבטל את נקודת הזיכוי במס לאקדמאים. “אני מקיים הידברות בנושא עם שר האוצר במטרה להביא לבחינה מחודשת של ביטול ההטבה. היום יותר מתמיד חשוב להשקיע בקידום הסטודנטים ומערכת ההשכלה הגבוהה, שכן הם פוטנציאל הצמיחה העיקרי של המשק הישראלי”. סגן השר אקוניס קרא גם לשר החינוך פירון להירתם לטובת העניין: “נקודת הזיכוי מהווה תמריץ עבור אנשים רבים לפקוד את המוסדות האקדמיים בישראל ולרכוש השכלה גבוהה”.

Jewish Brief February 10, 2013: Jewish scholar Rabbi David Hartman, founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute, dies at 81



Jewish scholar Rabbi David Hartman dies

Source: JTA, 2-10-13

Rabbi David Hartman, a Jewish scholar who founded the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, has died….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 8, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Remarks at Visit to Ariel University Center



PM Netanyahu Visits Ariel University Center

Source: PMO, 1-8-13

יום שלישי כ”ו טבת תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today visited the Ariel University Center of Samaria, and made the following remarks:

“I would like to make it clear to the world: The danger to the world is not a university in Ariel. The danger to the world is not that Israel is building neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The danger is Iran, which is building nuclear weapons. The danger is Syria’s arsenals of chemical weapons. I call on the world to take notice. History will judge harshly those who equate democratic Israel, which is establishing a university, and dictatorial regimes that slaughter their people and which hold atomic weapons of mass destruction. We remain faithful to our homeland. We will continue to defend our citizens, develop our country and build in our land. With G-d’s help, we will build and we will succeed.”

At the start of his visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu was shown the electro-static accelerator / free electron laser (EA-FEL), the only one of its kind in the country, and one of only six in the world. Afterwards, the Prime Minister met with senior academic staff, including Rector Prof. Michael Zinigrad as well as faculty deans, department heads, professors, lecturers and senior scientists.

Israel Brief December 24, 2012: Ariel University Center gets final approvals for full recognition



Ariel University Center gets final approvals for full recognition

Source: JTA, 12-24-12

Ariel University Center in the West Bank has been given final approval for recognition as a full university….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 14, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Weekly Cabinet Meeting



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting

Source: PMO, 10-14-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“First, I would like to commend the IDF’s precise action in the Gaza Strip last night. Global Jihad has stepped up its efforts to attack us and we will continue to operate against it, aggressively and in strength, both in response and in preventive counter-terrorism.

At the same time, there are increasing attempts to carry out cyber-attacks on computer infrastructures in the State of Israel. Every day there are attempts, even many attempts, to infiltrate Israel’s computer systems. It was because of this that I established the National Cyber Bureau and it is working to block these attempts by developing what I would call a ‘digital Iron Dome’ for Israel to defend against computer terrorism. Just as we have Iron Dome against missiles and a security fence against infiltrators and terrorism – we will have a similar defense against cyber-attacks. But like building the fence, time is needed to complete it, and we are working on it nonstop.

Today we are marking the International Day of Older Persons. We will submit to the Cabinet a proposal to promote employment among older people. I believe that a job is the most social thing there is for people of all ages and I call your attention to the fact that over the past four years we have added over 300,000 jobs, an all-time record, and this was during a global economic crisis that has not only toppled economies, but has increased unemployment rates around the world. Even during the three month election period, we will continue to act responsibly in order to safeguard the economy and, most importantly, to maintain Israelis’ jobs and even add to them.

Today we will also declare Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, to be a national priority community. We are investing very much in Be’er Sheva and in the rapid transportation routes to it, to link it with the center of the country and also allow it to develop. It is developing quickly with considerable momentum. I would like to take this opportunity to note that we have an excellent partner in Mayor Rubik Danilowitz, and I say to him, thank you very much. Thank you for your cooperation and we will continue to work together.

And to the students. I would like to say something to the 300,000 students who are starting the academic year: No government has contributed more to higher education than this one. We have invested billions in higher education and there has been a welcome change here, also amidst the great crisis. We have added, we have supported, we have developed, and we wish you a successful academic year.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 9, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting & Rosh Hashanah Greetings



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 9-9-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

“First of all, a Happy Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year] to you all. There is an apple and honey here. Let us offer to our friends from the media to take part in this beautiful custom.

I would like to congratulate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a daring and moral step and showing leadership on Friday, and thereby sending a principled and important message to the entire world, that the dark regime cannot have nuclear weapons. I call on the entire international community, or at least on its responsible members, to follow in Canada’s determined path and set Iran moral and practical red lines, lines that will stop its race to achieve nuclear weapons.

Today, the Cabinet will discuss the issue of turning the Ariel University Center into a university. I reiterate that Ariel is an inseparable part of the State of Israel and it will remain an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement just like the other settlement blocs. Approving the university in Ariel is one of a series of actions that we are taking in order to strengthen higher education in the State of Israel.  I do not think that it is sufficient that the State of Israel has seven universities; another university has not been added in decades. The population of Israel has doubled, even tripled. There is a strong desire on the part of young people in Israel to receive a university education, and I do not accept the approach of keeping a closed guild. I love to break monopolies and cartels in every field, and this one of them. If anyone has any doubt about whether or not I have a clear position on this issue, I would like to express it here. It is important that there be an additional university in Israel; it is important that there be a university in Ariel.

Last night I spoke with Noam Gershony who won a gold medal at the Paralympics. Noam encapsulates the image of the State of Israel and its story. He represents the victory of the spirit over all obstacles and I think that his personal story strongly expresses this. Noam was wounded in battle for the State of Israel. Yesterday he won a medal, a gold medal, on behalf of the State of Israel. He did not see this as just his own personal achievement, he saw it as a personal achievement for all of us, and he moved all of us when he wept to the national anthem. On behalf of the Government and the citizens of Israel, I salute you Noam Gershony.

This is the last Cabinet meeting of the outgoing year and this is the fourth time that The Cabinet is marking the start of a new year – this being an unusual event in and of itself over past decades. It broadcasts government stability, which is very important for the State of Israel at all times, but especially now. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the outgoing year was full of activity and this is my opportunity to thank the ministers for their great work on behalf of the people of the State of Israel.

We did many things together and if I were to now detail the Government’s actions, those which it carried out and those which it approved, I would need many hours. Therefore, I have chosen to point out one event per [Hebrew] month in order to note the progress of the State of Israel over the past year.

And so, in Tishrei, the Cabinet approved the agreement to bring Gilad Shalit back home after over five years in captivity.

In Cheshvan, we dedicated the new medical school in Safed, after 37 years in which no new medical school had been dedicated in Israel.  We thereby marked a turning point, not only in medicine, but in jumpstarting the Galilee and Safed. By the way, Israel is ranked sixth in the world on the Global Health Index, which was issued recently.

In Kislev, we approved the comprehensive plan to deal with infiltrators, the results of which are already being seen in the field.

In Tevet, tax benefits – that we approved – took effect for working parents and young children – representing a net addition of hundreds of shekels per month to salaries.

In Shevat, we approved the construction of a rail line to Eilat as part of the Government’s plan to invest billions of shekels in infrastructures, highways, railways and interchanges.

In Adar, I traveled to the AIPAC conference in the US to continue explaining and emphasizing the dangers posed to the world by Iran’s arming itself with nuclear weapons. Since then, all of our predictions have come true, one after the other.

In Nisan, the Bank of Israel determined that the Israeli economy grew by 4.7% in the previous year, an impressive achievement given the global economic crisis. I see the difficulties that are yet before us, but I think that if we continue to manage the economy in a responsible manner, we will continue to be above the other economies. By the way, in the same month, Israelis were ranked fourth on the global happiness index.

In Iyar, thanks to the reform we approved, new operators entered the cellular telephone market and prices of cellular calls nosedived, leading to a savings of hundreds of shekels a month for each family.

In Sivan, we expanded free dental care to include children up to age 12. As of the present, over two million free dental treatments have been given to children. This is a very significant achievement.

In Tammuz, we launched an international campaign on Israeli innovations in protecting the environment.  This was mainly abroad; it wasn’t seen so much in Israel.  But via this campaign we showed the world our breakthrough technologies in the field of environmental protection.

In Av, we completed the construction of over 200 kilometers of the southern security fence and we brought about a 90% decline in the number of infiltrators crossing the border. Soon we will complete the fence in its entirety.

And in [the current month of] Elul, we opened the school year in grand fashion – free education for children from age 3, a savings of NIS 800 per month for hundreds of thousands of parents.

I have not pointed out all of the things that the Government has done, but I think the things I have mentioned reflect the scope of a great achievement. This was a year in which we strengthened the security of the citizens of Israel in the face of the regional unrest around us and in which we kept our economy safe from the collapses that characterized other economies, and I am certain, and I promise, that in the coming year we will continue to achieve results for the citizens of the State of Israel.

Again, a Happy Rosh Hashanah to you all.

May it be a sweet year, a year of achievements, a good year.”

Israel Political Brief July 8, 2012: Israeli Government to Provide New Immigrant Students College Scholarships & Hebrew Language Schools



Israeli government to support new immigrant students

Source: JTA, 7-8-12

Israel’s government has budgeted more than $10 million to provide college scholarships and Hebrew language schools to new immigrants.

The Cabinet decision Sunday to continue to financially support the Immigrant Absorption Ministry Student Authority is “ensuring the continuation of its joint projects with the Jewish Agency which, due to budgetary constraints, faced uncertain futures,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day



PM Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 5-23-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, on the occasion of National Student Day, in his office, met with National Union of Israel Students leaders from around the country, led by NUIS Chairman Irzik Shmuli. Education Minister Gideon Saar, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Deputy Minister for Student Affairs Gila Gamliel and Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen Affairs Leah Nass also attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We have a great commitment to higher education. It starts with investments in resolving students’ problems in order to help them learn and lead the State of Israel in all fields – security, society, the economy, science and others.” The Prime Minister also commented on the Government’s actions to lower the cost of living for students and citizens: “Competition is the most social thing there is. We are working to increase competition and thereby lower the cost of living. See what has happened to the price of cellular phones, for example. Also in the housing sphere, we are working to break the state’s monopoly on land in order to lower housing costs. Additionally, we are working on behalf of young couples, some of whom are students, and in the coming months we will implement the law on free education from age three.”

NUIS Chairman Shmuli noted the complete cooperation between the Government and the NUIS in the fields of education, public transportation, bringing students and senior citizens closer together through voluntary community projects, and advancing cultural issue. “I have been active on behalf of students in various frameworks for seven years and there has never been a partnership like that with the Education Minister. There are also similar partnerships with other ministers.

Perhaps there are areas in which we agree less but given the major reform in higher education, the Sheshinski report, the recent welcome news in the cellular phone sector, we also know how to show gratitude and we appreciate these things very much. It is clear to us that when so many ministers are working on behalf of the students, there is a guiding hand from above and this is not a coincidence. Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you personally.”

Education Minister and Council on Higher Education Chairman Saar informed those in attendance that the next meeting of the Council, he intends to submit for approval new benefits that have been formulated for students serving in the IDF reserves. The benefits will be in regard to eligibility to be absent from classes, postponement of courses and assignments, eligibility to take exams at later dates, extending studies, etc. Minster Saar added, “The great change in higher education is the multi-year plan that was launched in August 2010. Higher education is moving forward in impressive fashion while strengthening excellence and increasing accessibility. Today, students are more involved in the higher education system, which will continue to strengthen and move forward.”

Transportation Minister Katz noted that over the past two years, his ministry has instituted many improvements and major discounts in public transportation for the student public in order to encourage the use of public transportation.  He said, “The Transportation Ministry has even expanded the system of discounts on all bus lines and on the railways, to all academic institutions in which students learn.  It has also upgraded and improved lines to all institutions of higher learning and the various campuses.”

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said, “The student public in Israel is an important public. It is the human future of Israel in which we must invest. It is a public active in culture and sports and it is my intention to work to enhance cooperation with students so that culture and sports in Israel are accessible and available to them. This year I initiated basic scholarship grants for students from the periphery who study at schools for the arts around the country and I intend to consider ways to expand them. The ministry also supports higher schools for the arts at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum.”

Deputy Minister for the Advancement of Youth, Women and Students Gamliel described the various actions being led by her office, including a year’s free study at academic institutions in the periphery, the construction of an additional 10,000 residential units, and expanding the student village in Lod. She said, “The fact that the Prime Minister has – for the first time – appointed a deputy minister to deal with students’ affairs speaks for itself. It provides students with a channel for direct dialogue with the Government and has led to many achievements. Investing in Israeli youth is not an expenditure but a national investment. We are working to lower tuition so that it will depend on contributing to the state and to various social projects. Thus, we will be able to help students and they will be able to help us, the population.”

Deputy Minister Nass updated those in attendance on the success of the initiative to award scholarships of up to NIS 5,000 to students who volunteer in various projects and assist Holocaust survivors, and on the success of the ‘students for senior citizens’ program, which was created in cooperation with the NUIS. This was in order to promote students as agents of change in Israeli society, strengthen senior citizens and enhance the link between young people and the older population. “Thanks to the joint activity by students and senior citizens we are creating an important bridge between the generations.”

Main points of activity by the Netanyahu Government on behalf of students

* NIS Seven billion investment in higher education in the framework of the multi-year plan to promote excellence and increase accessibility;

* Plan to establish centers for research excellence and to bring back scientists from abroad;

* Recognizing students who serve in the reserves and in social frameworks;

* A free first year of study at academic institutions in the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, Ashkelon and Jerusalem;

* The construction of 10,000 additional housing units as student dormitories;

* Gradually expanding the student village in Lod;

* Amending the students Rights Law – easements for pregnant and postpartum students, and for those undergoing fertility treatment;

* Public transportation discounts: 50% on all Israel Railways lines for those holding student fare cards and 30% for those who do not; 50% discount on buses whether by single-ticket purchase, fare cards or electronic cards;

* Upgrading and improving lines to institutions of higher learning and the various campuses, with special emphasis on students’ needs in the framework of the greater Tel Aviv area transportation reform;

* Culture and Sports Ministry support for higher schools of the arts, at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum;

* Basic scholarships for students from the periphery who learn at schools for the arts around the country; and

* Scholarships in the framework of the “students for senior citizens” plan which includes seven projects that involve students in the community in exchange for grants of up to NIS 5,000.

Israel Brief May 18, 2012: Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Yom Yerushalayim — Reunification Day



Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Reunification Day

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visit Jerusalem in honor of Yom Yerushalayim.
Students visit Jerusalem

Students visit Jerusalem
Haggai Huberman

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visited Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) which will be celebrated on Sunday.

The students toured the city together with the Education Ministry’s director general Dalit Stauber, visited major sites and learned about the city’s history. The day ended with a youth rally held at the Sultan’s Pool.

The visit was part of a commitment by Education Minister Gideon Saar who, upon taking office, declared that one of his goals is to strengthen the Zionist and Jewish values in the education system, including strengthening the students’ connection to Jerusalem.

In accordance with Saar’s vision, the Education Ministry began this year a program called “Going Up to Jerusalem”, which takes students on tours of Jerusalem and aims to significantly increase the number of students who visit the city. Thanks to the program, the number of students who visited Jerusalem this year currently stands at 500,000.

According to Itzik Ross of the Ministry of Education’s Southern Region, visits to Jerusalem are essential, because it is the eternal city no matter what one’s political opinions may be.

“There is an increase in visitors to Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “This is an educational process in which students learn about Jerusalem and connect themselves to the city’s history. Through the visit, the students’ connection to the eternal city becomes stronger. They learn about the settlement in Jerusalem, starting from the Old Yishuv and until the city’s unification in the 1967 Six Day War.”

Ross noted that all parents and students welcome the project and added, “Jerusalem is our eternal city no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on. We do not engage in politics; this is our capital city. I have not encountered parents or students who are opposed to the project. Everyone is excited about it.”

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