Pupils in WIZO Hadassim had a break from their studies, left their books and assembled in the library of the school for an exciting meeting with the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, who came into the school during a visit to the area, as the guest of the Head of the Local Authority of Even Yehuda, Mr. Avi Harari, who chose to begin the visit in WIZO Hadassim.
The purpose of the visit was to become acquainted with the joint efforts of the local authority, Even Yehuda, in the field of education, and their huge investment in the pupils. They especially wanted to hear the youth that learn in the youth village and their answers to questions relating to the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. WIZO Hadassim, amongst its student body, has pupils from other countries such as the Former Soviet Union, the birthplace of M.K. Edelstein. The Speaker of the Knesset showed interest in their feelings, and their absorption into Israeli society, and was happy to hear their positive feelings and their sense of security, as well as the deep attachment that they developed in Israel. Twenty five new immigrant pupils, learn in WIZO Hadassim, on the Naaleh project (youth immigrate ahead of parents), a program of the State of Israel and the Jewish Agency. The purpose of the program is to enable Jewish youth to study in Israel, in the hope that they will remain here as immigrants. Indeed, most stay and join the Israel Defense Forces.
Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive, responded to the invitation of the Head of Local Authority, Avi Harari, to join them in their visit and explained to the Speaker of the Knesset about the fundraising of WIZO federations, throughout the world, for hundreds of educational, and social projects in Israel, and the close link that exists between Canadian Hadassah WIZO with CHW Hadassim and their ongoing obligation to invest in the students.
The Speaker of the Knesset was deeply impressed with the educational activities in the youth village, and devoted a long period of time to speaking with the students. His conversation focused upon Zionism and the resilience of the Jewish people, and on the importance of social involvement and good citizenship – for the benefit of the State.
Especially moving was the question of the Speaker to the students: "What connects and links us as a people?" The students gave many answers such as, 'Our past', 'the Jewish religion' but Edelstein emphasized to the students that our future as a people, and the obligation that we all have to guarantee the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel – is crucial, and bonds us, keeping us united.
Professor Lazovsky added that our belonging to the State of Israel unites the whole Jewish people – those who are in Israel and those who live in the Diaspora. 'Without the State of Israel we have no continuity, and no existence. And the fact that we are enriched from many cultures has brought us wealth and strengthened us' she added.
Professor Lazovksy turned to the pupils and said to them, 'You, the young generation have the obligation, and the responsibility for the entire Jewish people and I am sure that students, such as yourselves, who are being educated with WIZO values, will successfully secure our future here'.
At the end of the visit, the students were excited to hear from M.K. Edelstein, the story of his life. He shared with them details about his imprisonment as a 'Prisoner of Zion' in a Soviet jail. M.K. Edelstein was a Zionist activist in the Soviet Union and learned Hebrew in the underground. For this he was sentenced to hard labor and imprisoned for three years. Following his release he immigrated to Israel with his family. The students were very excited with the visit, and presented the Speaker of the Knesset with a souvenir of his visit, a picture of the youth village with an inscription.