July 14, 2024
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Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett Visits The Frisch School

On Thursday, March 23, Israel’s Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett visited The Frisch School, addressing the entire student body. Minister Bennett is one of the most prominent politicians in the State of Israel. In addition to his roles as minister, Bennett is also the leader of HaBayit HaYehudi, The Jewish Home party in Israel’s Knesset.

While many faculty and students expected a political talk, Minister Bennett opted to give an uplifting, personal address to the Frisch students. Bennett spoke about his childhood, which included a few years living in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he went to Yavneh Academy, an elementary school that many Frisch Students have attended. He recounted how he lived a normal teenage life in Israel, playing ball, watching movies and experiencing the daily grind of high school. Bennett described how, after his schooling, he created a lucrative tech company before embarking on a successful career in politics.

Minister Bennett’s speech took a more solemn, yet inspiring tone when he spoke about his best friend and army comrade Emmanuel Moreno, who was tragically killed in the Second Lebanon War. Bennett shared his experiences with Moreno while they were both in the Sayeret Matkal, the IDF’s elite commando unit. Bennett described Moreno as neither the strongest, tallest or fastest soldier, but rather as the hardest worker in the unit. Bennett remarked to the group that in his mind there was no way Moreno would succeed. However, Moreno never gave up and would even put in extra effort while everyone else was sleeping. As a result of Moreno’s work ethic, he rose to the top of the unit. Bennett used the narrative of his friend to teach the students of Frisch an important lesson. People may think that without being born with incredible talents, they will never be able to achieve greatness. What Emmanuel Moreno taught Naftali Bennett is that everyone is capable of reaching their goals through hard work and determination.

After describing his experiences in the Second Lebanon War, Minister Bennett opened the floor to questions from students. Bennett was asked a variety of questions, including his views on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and what compelled him to embark on a career in politics. When a student asked what Americans can do for Israel, Bennett gave a refreshing comment. He flipped the question, saying, “What can Israeli communities do for the American public that has done so much for our people?” Bennett concluded his speech by expressing his hope for all of us to one day make aliyah.

 Rabbi Eli Ciner, principal of The Frisch School, closed the program by reminding all in attendance how Mr. Bennett, the son of American olim, has become a manhig Yisrael, a fulfillment of the ultimate Zionist dream. It was truly an honor having Minister Naftali Bennett speak to Frisch.

By Rafi Jacobs

 

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