President Reuven Rivlin, a longtime supporter of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, opted to open the new Israeli school year at an elementary school in the Samaria (Shomron) town of Peduel yesterday.
While there, the president joined the children in a recital of the famous song "Jerusalem of Gold," composed by legendary Israeli singer Naomi Shemer. The song, sometimes known as Israel's "unofficial anthem", was initially written before the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation, and talks of the Jewish people's yearning for the holy city.
After Jerusalem's reunification in the 1967 Six Day War – during which Judea and Samaria were also liberated – a final verse was added in tribute.
Rivlin also addressed students and faculty, declaring that despite efforts by Israel's foes the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria would always be an integral part of the State of Israel.
"Peduel is the symbol of connection – a link between the biblical [Israelite] kingdom and the state of today," Rivlin stated. "Samaria is here, Jerusalem is here and Tel Aviv is here."
Rivlin appealed to the students and faculty of the school to remember that "just as in a place like this, where the roots of Judaism and Israeliness are tied together, so to from you can the educational infrastructure grow gloriously."