"You are proof that we can live side by side in peace, and we must not let difficult experiences – such as what you have been through – harm our belief in our ability to live side by side,” President Reuven Rivlin said to the children.
The children made a banner saying “Hand in Hand, we will continue together in love and peace”, in Hebrew and Arabic. In addition, the children played football in the garden of the President’s Residence.
The children told the president and his wife First Lady Nechama Rivlin, about their reactions to the arson attack on their classroom which occurred over the weekend, and about their fear and sadness at losing their personal items destroyed in the attack.
Meanwhile, a protest against the arson attack was expected to continue onto Thursday.
Hundreds of students will participate in a solidarity march to the school that will set out at 10 am on Thursday from the HaMesila Park in Jerusalem and will lead to the bilingual school.
The slogan behind the march is "Yes to respect and tolerance, no to hate and violence."
Firefighting teams were dispatched on Saturday evening to the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem after a fire broke out in the building, causing the burning down of the entire first grade classroom.
After extinguishing the fire, the firefighters found anti-Arab slogans including "Death to Arabs", "Kahane was right" and other phrases against Israeli-Arab coexistence nearby.
An initial investigation suggested that the fire resulted from intentional ignition inside the school grounds. Police believe that the arsonists entered the school through the back gate and took advantage of construction work being conducted at the site, which allowed them to freely enter the compound.
No suspects have been apprehended in relation to the attack.