More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visited Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) which will be celebrated on Sunday.
The students toured the city together with the Education Ministry's director general Dalit Stauber, visited major sites and learned about the city’s history. The day ended with a youth rally held at the Sultan's Pool.
The visit was part of a commitment by Education Minister Gideon Saar who, upon taking office, declared that one of his goals is to strengthen the Zionist and Jewish values in the education system, including strengthening the students' connection to Jerusalem.
In accordance with Saar’s vision, the Education Ministry began this year a program called “Going Up to Jerusalem”, which takes students on tours of Jerusalem and aims to significantly increase the number of students who visit the city. Thanks to the program, the number of students who visited Jerusalem this year currently stands at 500,000.
According to Itzik Ross of the Ministry of Education's Southern Region, visits to Jerusalem are essential, because it is the eternal city no matter what one’s political opinions may be.
“There is an increase in visitors to Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “This is an educational process in which students learn about Jerusalem and connect themselves to the city’s history. Through the visit, the students' connection to the eternal city becomes stronger. They learn about the settlement in Jerusalem, starting from the Old Yishuv and until the city's unification in the 1967 Six Day War.”
Ross noted that all parents and students welcome the project and added, “Jerusalem is our eternal city no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on. We do not engage in politics; this is our capital city. I have not encountered parents or students who are opposed to the project. Everyone is excited about it.”