Education Minister Gideon Saar paid a visit to Beit El today, telling the crowd that greeted him, “I’ve approved two more nursery schools here, so hurry up and build them!”
Beit El's 6,000 residents are not among those living in the so-called "settlement blocs" that former U.S. President Bush promised would remain under Israeli sovereignty under any future arrangements.
Saar's visit to Beit El was delayed because of a traffic accident north of Jerusalem, blocking the main route to the Binyamin region. The minister and his aides were forced to take the only alternative route available, a half-hour detour via Maaleh Adumim and Alon. One resident of the town quipped cynically, “Too bad it wasn’t the Transportation Minister coming to visit…”
The nationalist camp welcomed Saar’s appointment to the post of Education Minister when the Netanyahu government took office a year and a half ago, following the term of Peace Now co-founder Yuli Tamir. After the national election, for instance, Saar spoke on Arutz-7 and reassured the religious and Zionist parties that the upcoming government “will be based on our natural partners in the nationalist camp... The voters have voted nationalist, and we have said many times that the new government will be built along these lines, and will not be a unity government that leans to the left.”
Of late, however, he has shifted his focus more to the educational arena, focusing slightly less on Land of Israel issues.
Minister Saar took part in the dedication of the new wing of the Beit El girls’ school, met with the town’s Rabbi Zalman Melamed (photo at left), and chatted at length with Mayor Moshe Rosenbaum. Due to time constraints, however, he was forced to miss his planned visit to the Artis neighborhood atop Beit El, which affords a view all the way to Jerusalem in the south and Tel Aviv in the west.
Saar was treated to musical performances by the children of both the boys’ and girls’ schools in Beit El, including the rhythmic song, “Whoever believes does not fear.” When it was suggested that two short presentations by girls in the 2nd and 8th grades be skipped because of the lack of time, Saar himself protested, and the girls’ read their short but to-the-point speeches.
“We are happy to welcome the Minister of Education to our new school building,” 2nd-grader Oriyah said, “where we learn the values that are most important to the Nation of Israel: Torah, the Nation of Israel, the Land of Israel, and doing acts of kindness.”