Start of the 2012-2013 School Year
Photo by GPO 

At the Szold School in Jerusalem

Greetings from older pupils: "Mr. Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Education Minister Gideon Saar, and Mr. Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, on behalf of the pupils at the Szold School, we thank you for having decided – on this moving day, the start of the school year – to honor us with your presence. We are grateful for having been given the privilege of meeting you, the leaders of the state.

Dear first-graders, today you join our family, the Szold family. We are pleased – and even excited – to welcome you to us. This is a new beginning for you. This is a new beginning for us. This is a new beginning for all of us. On this festive occasion, we promise to extend a hand in friendship and assistance, to be with you in class and during breaks, and to set an example for you. We welcome the coming year. We wish you a productive year of respect, health, peace and hope."

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "First of all, I would like to wish you all good luck in your studies. I came here, along with Education Minister Saar and Mayor Barkat to see you on this very exciting day. Are you all excited? Yes. A little scared? No. What are you feeling? You are excited. I see that some of you already know how to write the letter ‘shin’. Did you learn at home?"

Pupil: "I learned the letter ‘aleph’ at home."

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Where is an ‘aleph’? Can you show me an ‘aleph’? Can you go to the blackboard and show me an ‘aleph’? Can someone write for me an ‘aleph’? Who knows how? Do you want to come up? What is the next letter?"

Pupil: "’Bet’."

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "’Bet’, 12 points! Now I want the letter that comes after the next one, not the next letter, but the letter after the next one. The one after the next letter, do you know it?"

Pupil: "’Dalet’."

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Do you know how to write a ‘dalet’? Write it. You have received 24 points. How many letters are there? Does anyone know?"

Pupil: "22!"

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Who said that? What is your name? Yaheli. There are 22 letters, quite right. What is the last letter? ‘Taf.’ What is the next-to-last letter? ‘Shin.’ Very good. I am certain that you will learn all the letters here. Let’s go over them. ‘Aleph, bet, gimmel, dalet, heh, vav, zayin, chet, tet, yod, chaf, lammed, mem, nun, samekh, ayin, peh, tzadik, kof, resh, shin, taf.’ That’s it. I think that you already know everything.

I wish you well, that you should continue with your good lessons. Shalom, first grade. This is a very exciting day. When I was here, I don’t remember. My G-d, how many years has it been Gideon? I was here 56 years ago, can you believe it? Fifty-six years ago, I came to this school, to this building. There were huts. We were welcomed very nicely and I was very, very excited. I knew, I think, fewer letters than you. The teacher welcomed us and told us, ‘ Shalom first grade.’ And later, after many years, I went to a different school with my own children and I was very, very excited for each one in turn when they went to first grade. Today, I am very, very excited for you, and do you know what? One day you will come with your children and teach them — ‘Aleph, bet, gimmel, dalet’, and you will be excited. I wish you a genuinely successful year. Shalom, first grade. Thank you.

Teacher: "Thank you our Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu."