"What happened in Jerusalem is a grave failure, highlighted by the fact that the kids who were involved don't even regret their acts," President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday, referring to the attempted lynching of an Arab man perpetrated by Jewish teens in Jerusalem's Zion Square over the weekend.
Speaking at the annual education conference in Holon, Peres noted that "children should be instilled with values, which are not emphasized sufficiently in Israel. It's true that the land is Holy and the country is dear to us all, but human life is no less important."
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The president addressed parents and teachers, saying that he would like to see Israel's next generation "taught to be generous and not only courageous. The teachers' role is to encourage students, not just criticize them. The teachers need to stimulate students' imagination and curiosity and give them freedom to act. "
Peres at education conference
Peres also referred to the advancement of technology and science, saying that "we are a small nation that needs excellent children, and they can only be excellent of we give them the proper conditions.
"We fell in love with this country so deeply, but we mustn't forget that being civilized is no less important than living according to the Torah. We must make the utmost effort to invest in education, so that we can make the world a better place," he said.
The president said he is proud of Israel's higher education institutions, three of which were listed among the 100 best universities in the world in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking.
"There's something about the Jewish genes – we are a nation that wants to survive but is never satisfied – always trying to innovate and make changes," Peres noted.
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