(JTA) – More than two million Israeli children headed to school for the 2016-2017 school year.
Thursday was the first day of school for most Israeli children from kindergarten to Grade 12.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed students to their first day of school at Tamra Haemek public elementary school in Tamra, an Israeli Arab town in northern Israel.
The lawmakers were welcomed during an opening ceremony by the school’s approximately 200 pupils in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Netanyahu told the students to listen to their teachers and to listen to their parents.
“I want you to learn – learn to write, learn to read, learn Hebrew, Arabic and English. I want you to learn mathematics. I want you to learn science. I want you to learn history – history of the Jewish People, the history of your public. I want you to learn the truth, and the truth says that we were destined to live together,” Netanyahu told the students according to his office.
“I want you to be doctors, scientists and writers, and be whatever you want to – and are able to – be. I want you to be loyal citizens, integrated into the State of Israel; this is your state,” he said.
Of the 2.2 million Israeli students who started school on Thursday, about 159,000 are entering Grade 1 and 123,000 are entering their last year of high school.
There are about 180,000 educators working in the Israeli school system, including 9,000 who are teaching this year for the first time.