Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited FJC’s Or Avner School in Baku yesterday as part of their official visit to Azerbaijan. They met with the students, the school’s staff and members of local Jewish community. Also present at the meeting were Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan Dan Stav, education minister Michael Javrov and chief rabbi Shneur Segal.
The Prime Minister and his wife first went to a lesson in Hebrew class, where they chatted with the students and asked them about Jewish heritage and identity. They also talked about the upcoming holiday of Chanukah and its significance today. After that, the school convened for an official meeting with the Israeli leaders and honorable guests in the school’s auditorium. The students sang Jewish songs in Hebrew as a festive welcome to the delegation.
PM Netanyahu praised and thanked the Azerbaijan government for its efforts in promoting multiculturalism and Jewish education “here, in an Islamic country.” He also thanked the school’s staff and the chief rabbi for their work in “dispelling darkness.” “How could one not be moved by the splendid boys and girls that we see here? … This is the spirit that guides us in Israel, in Azerbaijan and in many other places around the world,” he said.
‘Or Avner’ Baku was established in 2003 by as a joint project of FJC’s Or Avner foundation and the Heydar Aliyev fund. As of today, 175 children aged 3 to 17 study there. The school provides them with top academic education and also exposes the students to the culture, history and traditions of their Jewish heritage. Children learn at the school at no charge and receive hot nutritious meals, which help even the most impoverished families in the community to be proud parents and raise successful students.