Camps & education | Israeli students stage nationwide strike, get what they want

Israel’s half a million high school students stayed home Jan. 14 in an unprecedented nationwide strike against a decision to cancel annual field trips, halting classes across the country before officials agreed to reinstate the activities.

The national student council announced late in the day that the strike had succeeded and that students should return to school on Jan. 15; schools sent emails to that effect as well.

“We have gotten the students back on track,” the council said in a statement.

Education Ministry spokeswoman Hagit Cohen said the strike was in protest against a decision by an organization of Israeli teachers weeks ago to stop accompanying students on field trips. The trips — often involving days-long hikes and camping outdoors — are a rite of passage.

The organization had decided teachers would not escort students unless they had legal guarantees they would not be sued by parents should something adverse happen to students during the trips. The issue stemmed from a drowning during a previous field trip.

The strike had been scheduled to continue through Friday, Jan. 16.

High school classrooms around the country were largely deserted during the strike, Israeli media reported, though some students reported for previously scheduled exams before going home. — ap