Students taking exams (illustrative)
Students taking exams (illustrative)Flash90

Students in high schools near Gaza suffered academic lapses due to Hamas's war on Israeli civilians, according to matriculation exam results released by the Ministry of Education on Monday.

5.64% fewer students in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council passed their matriculation exams, the data revealed - 64.07%, down from 69.71% last year. 

A decrease is even more marked in the Eshkol Regional Council, which bottomed out the list in decreases with a full 16.18% increase of high school seniors failing their matriculation exams in 2014, and just 60.69% passing. Last year, 76.87% of high school seniors in the region passed their exams. 

Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yalin attributes the steep decline directly to the war, saying Operation Protective Edge was bound to have an effect on local schoolchildren.

"The figures were known to us," Yellin said. "This is a very special and outstanding [graduating] class, which was very involved socially in school and in the community. [But even] they were affected by Operation Protective Edge and the preceding escalation of intensity [in rocket fire]."

Over the course of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired over 3,600 rockets on Israeli civilians. A large percentage struck the Eshkol Region and other regions close to Gaza. 

Despite everything, he said, there is a silver lining: the level of social values imparted to the students, whom Yellin says have a high moral compass.

"Our school has been, for three years in a row, the first place in the South for IDF recruitment," Yellin noted. "It is important to emphasize that we strive to be #1 in imparting social values and tools to students to become members of the community, rather than in getting high grades." 

"This is not just high school - it's an place of learning - and we're very proud of our students," he added.