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Israel begins first day of new school year by helping kids adapt to classroom after spending summer vacation in bomb shelters (video)

By Mason White 4:04 PM September 1, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses children
at school in Sderot on first day of school 

By: Anav Silverman
(Scroll down for video) Millions of Israeli kids began their first day of school by adapting to classrooms after spending their summer vacation in bomb shelters, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

On Monday, schools across Israel opened the school year, as 2,105,394 children took their places in the classrooms a week after a 50-day war with Hamas ended in a ceasefire agreement.

In southern Israel, where cities and communities were most affected by Hamas rocket fire and terror attacks, special activities took place to help children ease back into school life.

“There are mixed feelings, but there is great happiness of going back to routine,” Sharon, a mother of Kibbutz Or HaNer, near Sderot, told the Tazpit News Agency.

“On the other hand, we do not know what will happen next with the ceasefire,” said Sharon, whose children go to school in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council.

“The children were really happy to go back to school, to walk around freely for the first time in months. Just today, the kids and I had ice cream for the first time, sitting out on the grass,” Sharon told the Tazpit News Agency.

“There is a feeling that the war stopped, but also that it hasn’t. Parents are full of emotions regarding the return to school after such a difficult summer. Many of us became refugees from the rockets. Just think, teachers who went through this horror themselves are opening the school year,” she added.

Over 4,562 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the summer, striking civilian population centers throughout the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Shai Piron, and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, showed solidarity with southerners today, visiting schools in southern Israel.

In Sderot, Netanyahu visited a new religious elementary school with Sderot mayor, Alon Davidi. The prime minister spoke with first grade students, who spent the first lesson learning about the Hebrew alphabet.

“I know that you spent your vacation doing things not according to what you planned,” the prime minister said.

“I hope that during the upcoming holidays you will have the chance to have some fun, to play and to be with your families and friends,” Netanyahu told the first graders.

“Be good friends with one another. This is what distinguishes us and gives our people special strength,” he said. “We are the People of the Book, and today, we are the people of the tablet as well. We hold on to our heritage and also the future. Study the Bible, our heritage, math, computers and science. Acquire knowledge for the sake of the nation of Israel, for the State of Israel, for the land of Israel, for yourselves and your families,” Netanyahu concluded.