Two million Israeli schoolchildren enter classrooms

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli schools opened across the country for more than 2 million schoolchildren.

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It is the first time that the number of Israeli school children has topped 2 million, which includes 145,374 first grade students.

It is also reportedly the first time that the school in Israel did not begin on Sept. 1, since a new yearly school schedule was introduced last year.

Many cities throughout Israel by Monday had not completed building new preschool buildings in time for the start of the school year, in order to accommodate the government’s decision to provide free pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds, the Times of Israel reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting: “Hello to all the first graders. This is what Israeli children who are starting the 2012-2013 school year will hear tomorrow. Each one of us remembers this exciting day. I remember it, with my book bag, pencil case and empty notebooks. Today, the technology has changed a little, but the excitement is the same, the children’s great excitement, and that of the parents, teachers and principals as well.”

Netanyahu also spoke Sunday with Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were murdered in the November 2008 terrorist attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai. Moshe, who is now living in Israel with his grandparents, Shimon and Yehudit, started first grade on Monday. Netanyahu wished him well and said that the prayers of the entire Jewish people are with him.
 

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