On Wednesday morning Israeli President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog opened the 5782 school year at the Inbalim Elementary School in Modi'in Maccabim Re'ut. Later on Wednesday, they will visit Mesu'ot Neriah, a religious elementary school, and the Yitzhak Navon Ironi H. High School. During the visit, they were accompanied by the local mayor, Haim Bibas.
At the Inbalim Elementary School, President Herzog and the First Lady were greeted by the school's pupils, who sang and waved Israeli flags. The school principal, Revital, showed the President and the First Lady the school's innovative "Body, Mind, and Movement Studio," where the pupils learn using the distinctive method of reviewing their material during physical exercise. Afterwards, President Herzog and the First Lady joined a class with excited first-graders on their first day, who shared their feelings about returning to school in light of recent changes and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Herzog: "We are at peak excitement, and in our hearts we pray for a good, productive, and healthy year. We have an excellent education system, excellent school teachers and principals, kindergarten teachers and assistants. Their success is our success and the success of our future. And don't forget: get vaccinated, wear a mask, get tested. Look after yourselves, and look after us."
The President added: "It is truly a chag, a festival, to open the school year and see you, dear pupils. In the whole of Israel, nearly 2.5 million pupils are going to school today. This is especially exciting given the circumstances, with COVID." He further stated: "In this period, with our lives and the country gripped by the COVID pandemic, I call on all parents, teachers, and pupils again: Anyone who can get vaccinated, go get vaccinated. That is how we can ensure as normal a routine as possible. I wish all of us a good new year, a year of health to the whole People of Israel and all its diverse groups."
In the first grade class, President Herzog and the First Lady heard from the new first-graders about their excitement ahead of the new school year and their first day at school.
First Lady Michal Herzog told the pupils that her mother was a teacher at the school she attended: "When I reached first grade, I was very nervous but I knew that my mother was in one of the school's classrooms and that reassured me. I think you're all going to have a lot of fun."
President Herzog proceeded to a Hebrew class with the new first-graders and asked them whether they knew how to write "Hello, First Grade," and asked their help to spell it out as the First Lady wrote it on the whiteboard.
Haim Bibas, Mayor of Modi'in Maccabim Re'ut, said: "The education system in Modi'in Maccabim Re'ut is one of the largest in Israel, and nevertheless makes sure to give each and every pupil individual attention, in order to give them the tools they need to succeed. Today, we are beginning the most challenging school year, and we'll work together, pupils, parents, and teachers, to make this year productive, effective, and healthy. Good luck to all children."