On the first day of school last week, children in their first year at primary school in the small city of Ashkelon in southern Israel were excited to learn that Benjamin Netanyahu would be visiting their class. This is what the prime minister had to say to the six-year-olds:
The first lesson in first grade is ‘Shalom first grade’ with the emphasis on shalom [peace]. We educate our children for peace. A few kilometres from here, Hamas teaches its children the opposite of peace and, from time to time, it tries to fire at us, at you. Our policy is clear – zero restraint, zero let-up, zero tolerance for terrorism. We respond to every hostile attack on our territory either by overt or covert action, and we are determined to foil terrorism at every turn, just as we did yesterday in Jenin. I wish a quick recovery to the soldier who was wounded. We want peace but we must first and foremost watch over our land, our children – we must watch over you. This is our first obligation – the security of our children.