Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home Party) announced next year’s educational theme Monday, declaring the 2016-2017 school year “The Year of Jerusalem Unity.” Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the city’s reunification in 1967, schools across the country would celebrate its capital, chosen by King David and sanctified by God Himself.
Each year, the Ministry of Education sets a curricular theme for the country. Past themes have included “The Other is Me” and “Healthy Lifestyle”. In the coming school year, Bennett intends for schools to focus on the people’s connection to their eternal capital.
“Anyone who tries to uproot us from this city only pushes us to promote this program. Our history began in Jerusalem, and it fuels our strength during difficult times,” Bennett was quoted by Israel National News as saying.
The program will incorporate Jerusalem into existing subjects such as history, language, geography, civics, literature, Bible and Israel studies. Pupils from across the country will visit Jerusalem on field trips, touring the Old City, the Knesset, the High Court, and memorial sites.
Lesson plans will be provided to teachers by the Ministry, tailored to “the spirit of the school and its worldview,” according to The Jerusalem Post. Material will be integrated throughout the school year, with special programming for holidays, such as Jerusalem Day.
In addition, the Ministry plans to increase the number of students participating in the annual “Massa Israeli” (Israeli Journey) program, from 12,000 to 21,000. The project, run in conjunction with the Ministry, is a six-day tour beginning at sunrise at David Ben Gurion’s grave and ending with a weekend in Jerusalem. In addition, participants volunteer in developing cities, camp outdoors and visit sites and learn about milestones in forming the Jewish and Zionist identity.