Pres. Rivlin Visits The Eshkol Regional Council And The IDF Gaza Division

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President Rivlin visiting the IDF Gaza division (Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)

Jerusalem – To mark the new school year that began this week, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 5 September / 5 Elul, opened the new education campus at the Eshkol Regional Council and met with fourth graders. The ceremony was attended by Director-General of the Ministry of Education Shmuel Abuav and head of the Eshkol Regional Council Gadi Yarkoni.

Afterwards, the president visited the Gaza observer regiment, accompanied by commander of the Gaza Division Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano. The president met the division’s commanders and the officers of the combat intelligence battalion and met with the observers in their command center, where he was briefed on terrorist infiltrations that were recently prevented due to the diligence of the women of the ‘Nesher’ combat intelligence battalion

The new education campus at the Eshkol Regional campus comprises three elementary schools, for pupils from the kibbutzim and moshavim in the area. It is based on an innovative educational concept of open learning spaces, along with small group areas. The buildings were designed according to stringent security directives and are hardened against missiles.

“This education campus is, first and foremost, a happy place. It was built because more children were born and they needed more classrooms,” said the president. “I heard that the two new schools still have no name, because their names and school badges will be decided by the community. I think it’s a great idea. Is an opportunity to teach the wonderful children here, and their older and younger friends, what democracy is about.”

In this context, the president spoke about the elections: “In two weeks we will all go to vote in the elections for the 22nd Knesset. I imagine that you children, too, feel that your parents are as concerned as we all are by the need for additional elections in such a short time. Perhaps you have heard your parents amazed by the way people – who seek to be our leaders – are treating each other just to grab the voters’ attention. This is not the lesson we wish to impart to you, our children. We want you to learn what a living and dynamic democracy is, in which every citizen can and should not only influence events when they vote, but also in everyday life.”

“The process of selecting the name and badge of a new school is an excellent lesson in democracy. It is an excellent lesson in how each one of us, even in the fourth grade, can influence the world we live in.”

Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said at the opening of the school: “This education campus is the clearest and most exciting sign of growth and development over the years in the Eshkol Regional Council, despite the security challenges. Building a new education campus gave us a unique opportunity to make something new in our educational system. We decided to see it as a valuable opportunity, which we seized with enthusiasm. Our neighbors on the other side of the border are visible from the new schools are. From here, I call on our neighbors to cease terrorism. Stop investing in an arms race with us, because there we will always win. Invest those resources in building new and innovative schools. Invest in children. They are the future. They are the hope.”

Afterwards, the president continued to tour the Gaza Strip, accompanied by the commander of the IDF Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, and met the observers of the “Nesher” combat intelligence battalion.

“The children of the area around Gaza wake up every morning and go to school without concern, because they know that you are looking out for them, with a thousand eyes. I heard about your work in real time, and there is no doubt that today, you are the eyes of the country.”

The president spoke about the inherent difficulty in the observers’ role, which requires sustained attention and concentration, and heard from the soldiers how every event they observed was played out on the ground. Referring to the issue of female recruitment for service in the IDF, the president said that the subject sometimes strays into discussion of marginal issues, and that is very important to him that they know that without them we would not be able to keep our borders safe. “You do this important job with dedication, devotion, and above all to uncompromising professionalism, and I salute you all,” said the president before he departed.


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