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      Daycare Centers to Fly the Flag

      Israel's daycare centers will begin the week by raising the flag. 'Not just for Independence Day,' coordinator explains.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 8/31/2011, 9:21 PM

      Waving the flag on Jerusalem Day: Bandits?
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      Children in Israel's daycare system will begin each week by raising the flag and singing the national anthem, under a new directive from the Education Ministry. The Teachers' Union coordinator for religious-Zionist daycare, Dalia Roth, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the new project.

      Roth praised the idea. “The values, strengthening Zionism – these are very important to us, and we're happy to emphasize them,” she said. “It's important to start from a young age, and it's not enough to wave the flag on Independence Day.”

      Many daycare centers began holding flag-raising ceremonies over the past year, she noted, without waiting for the Education Ministry's decision.

      The ceremony will be held at 8:30 in the morning, after morning prayers, Roth explained. The children will take turns helping to raise the flag, she said, adding, “I believe it will be a very special experience.”

      Unfortunately, Roth continued, the idea of holding a flag-raising ceremony is controversial even in the religious world. Many hareidi-religious communities are not Zionist, and some object to teaching the national anthem.

      “For our part, we will not accept daycare workers who refuse the wave the flag,” she said of the religious-Zionist (Mamlachti Dati in Hebrew, abbreviated to Mamad) daycare network.

      Roth expressed hope that the new weekly event will not be controversial in secular daycare centers. “If the secular centers are not comfortable raising the flag and singing 'Hatikva' – oy, what has become of us?” she said. There is no reason anyone should be uncomfortable with the ceremony, she said, pointing out that in most of the world raising the flag in schools is a universally accepted tradition. Israeli elementary schools once did it every morning.